Mätaitai reserves are one of the suite of management tools created under Part IX of the Fisheries Act 1996. These are designed to give effect to the obligations stated in the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Claims Settlement Act 1992 to develop policies to help recognise use and management practices of Mäori in the exercise of non-commercial fishing rights. The Part IX tools provide practical recognition of the rights guaranteed to tängata whenua under the Treaty of Waitangi.
Under the Customary Fishing Regulations (Kaimoana Customary Fishing Regulations 1998), tängata whenua may apply to the Minister of Fisheries to establish a mätaitai reserve on a traditional fishing ground for the purpose of recognising and providing for customary management practices and food gathering.
A mätaitai reserve will have the following effect:
- Excludes commercial fishing (though can be permitted through regulations);
- Does not exclude recreational fishing;
- Does not require recreational fishers to obtain permits or prevent non-Mäori from fishing;
- Does not prevent access to beaches or rivers not on private land;
- Allows for bylaws for fishing to be made.
When considering whether to grant a mätaitai reserve, the Minister must take account of the following factors:
- That there is a special relationship between tängata whenua and the proposed mätaitai reserve;
- That the general aims of the proposed mätaitai reserve are consistent with sustainable management of the fishery;
- That the proposed mätaitai reserve is an identified traditional fishing ground and is of a size appropriate to effective management by the tängata whenua;
- That the Minister and tängata whenua agree on suitable conditions for the proposed mätaitai reserve;
- The local community to take fish, aquatic life, or seaweed for non-commercial purposes will not be unreasonably impacted;
- Persons with a commercial interest in a species will not be prevented from taking their quota entitlement or ACE within the Quota Management Area for that species;
- Persons with a commercial fishing permit for a non-quota management species will not be prevented from taking fish, aquatic life, or seaweed under their permit within the area for which that permit has been issued; and
- The proposed mätaitai reserve is not a marine reserve.
What should be contained in the application?
The regulations require that the application for a mätaitai reserve must contain:
(a) The name and contact of the applicant
(b) The name(s) of the proposed Tängata Tiaki/Kaitiaki for the mätaitai reserve
(c) The boundaries of the proposed mätaitai reserve and a map
(d) Relationship of the applicant to that fishing ground
(e) The aims of management for the mätaitai reserve.
The Ministry has developed guidelines to describe the information tangata whenua can provide to support their application for a mataitai reserve.
Download Guidelines for Mataitai Reserve Applications (PDF 2.0MB)
Appointment of Tängata Tiaki/Kaitiaki for a Mätaitai Reserve
Tängata Whenua must notify the Ministry of Fisheries on the approved form under regulation 17 of the Customary Regulations of their intention to nominate someone as Tängata Tiaki/Kaitiaki for the corresponding mätaitai reserve. There are no grounds for making submissions against Tängata Tiaki/Kaitiaki for a mätaitai reserve. It is a different process to the process for Tängata Tiaki/Kaitiaki for rohe moana.
For applications in North Island and Chatham Island waters, the Ministry will consult with the local community and those with a fishing interest in the area of the proposed reserve.
For applications in South Island waters, the Ministry will consult with the local community and with those persons who take fish, aquatic life, or seaweed or own quota, and whose ability to take such fish, aquatic life, or seaweed or whose ownership interest in quota may be affected by the proposed mataitai reserve
Tängata Tiaki/Kaitiaki will recommend by-laws to be approved by the Minister of Fisheries, who will consider issues of sustainability. These by-laws will directly control the taking of fish for non-commercial purposes. An extensive consultation process with all affected parties is required to be undertaken by MFish prior to implementation.
Bylaws can restrict or prohibit the taking of fish, aquatic life, or seaweed (e.g. species, quantity, size, area, etc.) from within the whole or any part of the mätaitai reserve for the purpose of sustainable management. Bylaws apply to all persons fishing in the mätaitai reserve and cannot be used to exclude non-Mäori from utilising the fisheries resources.
Bylaws apply only to those species managed under the Fisheries Act 1996. Recreational fishers must comply with the Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 1986 when fishing within the mätaitai reserve and do not apply to those species managed under the Conservation Act 1987 (e.g. trout). Sport fishers must have the appropriate licence when fishing within the mätaitai reserve.