Five new mätaitai reserves announced
16 August 2012
The Ministry for Primary Industries today announced the approval of five new mätaitai reserves, three in the North Island and two in the South Island. The reserves will come into effect on 13 September 2012.
Mätaitai reserves can be established over traditional fishing grounds of special importance to local Mäori.
Establishing a mätaitai reserve does not prevent recreational fishing, access to reserves, beaches or rivers, and does not change existing arrangements for access to private land. Only commercial fishing is prohibited in a mätaitai reserve. A mātaitai reserve only applies to species managed under the Fisheries Act 1996, which excludes whitebait and sports fish.
Three of the approved mätaitai reserves are located at Mahia Peninsula, on the east coast of the North Island: the Horokaka and Toka Tämure Mätaitai Reserves are on the northern side of the Peninsula, and Te Hoe Mätaitai Reserve is on the southern side. These three Reserves cover the same approximate area as has already been closed to commercial fishing by regulations.
The approved Waihao Mätaitai Reserve is located north-east of the Waimate township, South Canterbury. This Reserve includes the Wainono Lagoon, and that portion of the Waihao River catchment, Waituna Stream and Hook River east of State Highway 1. The areas covered by this Reserve are already closed to commercial eel fishing by regulations.
The approved Okarito Lagoon Mätaitai Reserve is located north of Franz Josef on the west coast of the South Island. This Reserve includes the Okarito Lagoon, Lake Windermere and the coastal area at the Okarito Lagoon entrance.
“In establishing these mätaitai reserves, we have carefully considered the effect they will have on commercial fishers,” says James Stevenson-Wallace, Fisheries Management Director for MPI. “For the Okarito Lagoon Mätaitai Reserve, there will be some effect on local commercial fishers, but we are confident they will be able to continue to take their catch outside the Reserve.”
“These reserves will enable local Mäori to exercise their customary rights through access to, and use of, fisheries resources from the Reserve areas.”
The mätaitai reserves do not restrict recreational fishers’ ability to go fishing, subject to the existing fishing rules.
Background – general
- The Kaitiaki (Mäori fishery guardian) may recommend fishing restrictions to contribute to the sustainable management of fisheries within the mätaitai reserve. However, the decision to accept or decline that recommendation rests with the Minister for Primary Industries and would be informed by public consultation and careful analysis of the input.
- Mäori rights to utilise and manage traditionally important fishing grounds for customary food gathering purposes were recognised under the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Settlement agreed in 1992.
- Under customary fishing regulations Mäori may apply to establish a mätaitai reserve over any part of their traditional fishing areas. There are currently 29 mätaitai reserves established, including the five new reserves (20 mätaitai reserves in South Island waters and 9 in North Island waters).
- Customary fishing within a mätaitai reserve must be authorised by the Kaitiaki appointed for the reserve, and Kaitiaki must report customary authorisations to the Ministry for Primary Industries.
- Any bylaws apply to everyone who fishes within the mätaitai reserve, the only exception being that appointed. Kaitiaki can authorise the take of fisheries resources to sustain the functions of a marae.
- In addition to recommending bylaws, Kaitiaki appointed for a mätaitai reserve can recommend regulations to reinstate limited commercial fishing within a reserve.
Background – Horokaka, Toka Tämure and Te Hoe Mätaitai Reserves (Mahia Peninsula)
- The Horokaka Mätaitai Reserve covers approximately 4.1 sq km and 3.4 km of coastline.
- The Toka Tämure Mätaitai Reserve covers approximately 2.9 sq km and 4.5 km of coastline.
- Te Hoe Mätaitai Reserve covers approximately 14.5 sq km and 12.0 km of coastline.
- The applications were lodged by the Mahia Mäori Committee, representing Rongomawahine.
- Contact for the three Reserves: Morrie Cooper, 027 411 7299.
Background – Okarito Lagoon Mätaitai Reserve
- The Reserve includes the Okarito Lagoon, Lake Windermere and a 2.6 km coastal strip at the Lagoon entrance, which extends 100 m offshore.
- The application was lodged by Te Rünanga o Makaawhio.
- Okarito Lagoon contact: Susan Wallace, 03 755 7885.
Background – Waihao Mätaitai Reserve
- The Reserve includes the Wainono Lagoon, and that portion of the Waihao River catchment, Waituna Stream and Hook River east of State Highway 1.
- The Waihao Mätaitai Reserve is located north-east of the Waimate township, South Canterbury.
- The application was lodged by Te Rünanga o Waihao.
- Waihao contact: Pauline Reid, 027 748 8229.
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