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What about non-commercial aquaculture?

Claims relating to non-commercial aquaculture can be dealt with through the Treaty of Waitangi historical claims settlement process managed by the Ministry of Justice (Office of Treaty Settlements).

What about freshwater aquaculture and land-based marine farms?

The Māori commercial aquaculture settlement only relates to commercial marine farming in coastal waters out to 12 nautical miles. The settlement does not relate to freshwater aquaculture, land-based marine (saltwater) farms, or aquaculture beyond councils’ coastal jurisdiction (12 nautical miles).

How do aquaculture claims relate to the Treaty of Waitangi?

The possibility of conflict between the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and the aquaculture reforms was raised in claims before the Waitangi Tribunal by representatives of Ngati Kahungunu, Ngati Whatua, Te Atiawa ki te Tau Ihu, Ngati Koata, Ngai Tahu and Ngati Kuia.

The Waitangi Tribunal agreed the proposed reforms would breach the principles of the Treaty, as it found "Māori have an interest in marine farming that forms part of the bundle of Māori rights in the coastal marine area".

The Tribunal suggested further consultation between the Crown and Māori was needed to work out what should be done to ensure Treaty interests were adequately provided for. The Tribunal's findings are contained in Ahu Moana: The Aquaculture and Marine Farming Report (report Wai953)

The Government felt that, without resolution, these Treaty claims would create uncertainty for the marine farming industry and local government decision-makers because of the ongoing risk of legal challenge by Māori.

So after discussions with the Waitangi Tribunal claimants, and the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission (Te Ohu Kai Moana Trustee Limited), Government implemented the Māori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004 as a "full and final settlement of Māori claims to commercial aquaculture on or after 21 September 1992".

How was the Māori Commercial Aquaculture Settlement worked out?

In 1992, the Crown negotiated a settlement with Māori over their rights to commercial fisheries in New Zealand fisheries waters (the 1992 Fisheries Settlement). This settlement was necessary because the (then recently-introduced) Quota Management System was found to breach Māori fisheries rights protected by the Treaty of Waitangi.  In terms of settling aquaculture claims, the Government decided the aquaculture settlement should be consistent with the principles of the 1992 Fisheries Settlement.

Who gets settlement assets?

If your iwi has a coastline in its rohe and is listed under schedule 4 of the Māori Fisheries Act 2004, it will be eligible to receive assets under the Māori commercial aquaculture settlement.

Settlement assets will be allocated to Iwi Aquaculture Organisations. These will be the same mandated iwi organisations established under the Māori Fisheries Act 2004 to receive fisheries assets under the 1992 Fisheries Settlement, but they must also have been authorised by their iwi members (through provisions in their constitutions) to receive aquaculture assets under the aquaculture settlement.

Settlement assets will be allocated on a region-by-region basis, based around the jurisdictions of regional councils and unitary authorities. The exception is those harbours identified in the second Schedule of the Māori Commercial Aquaculture Settlement Act - where settlement assets will be allocated to iwi whose rohe abut that harbour.

The eastern and western coastlines of the Waikato and Wanganui/Manawatu regions will be treated as separate regions for the purposes of settlement.

How do iwi get settlement assets?

As happened with the fisheries settlement of 1992, settlement assets under the Māori Commercial Aquaculture Settlement Act will be transferred to the Trustee, who will then distribute these to the region's iwi in accordance with the Māori Commercial Aquaculture Settlement Act.

The Trustee can only distribute the aquaculture settlement assets to an Iwi Aquaculture Organisation.  Once all a region's iwi have established their necessary organisations, they have 12-months to reach written agreement over how their region's aquaculture settlement assets will be proportionately divided.  If they can't agree within this timeframe, the Trustee will determine what proportion of the settlement each iwi will receive, based on iwi claims to coastline length (or harbour agreements). Once decisions on proportionate share have been made, Iwi Aquaculture Organisations then have to agree on how the settlement assets themselves will be allocated.  The Trustee will then transfer the assets to the Iwi Aquaculture Organisations involved.

What is the role of Iwi Aquaculture Organisations?

Iwi Aquaculture Organisations are responsible for aquaculture settlement assets allocated to that iwi. They must act for the benefit of all members of the iwi, and are responsible for establishing commercial entities to manage these settlement assets.

What if iwi disagree with decisions made?

The Act provides dispute resolution processes to resolve specified disputes (including iwi disputes over coastline entitlements and division of assets).

Find out more about the Maori commercial aquaculture claims settlement

Updated : 9 July 2015