Hakihea mataitai reserve announced
7 July 2011
The Ministry of Fisheries today announced the approval of a mataitai reserve at Hakihea, adjacent to the Whangara township north of Gisborne.
The reserve encompasses approximately four square kilometres of fisheries waters from the western side of Te Ikaarongamai Bay (south of Pokatakina headland) to the northern boundary of Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve. The seaward boundary extends north of the Marine Reserve along the eastern tip of Whangara Island and the edge of the reefs.
The reserve comes into effect on 4 August 2011.
Gavin Lockwood, Ministry of Fisheries Deputy Chief Executive Fisheries Management, said a mataitai reserve is different from a marine reserve established under the Marine Reserves Act 1971. “Establishing a marine reserve prohibits all fishing. Establishing a mataitai reserve prohibits all commercial fishing, although limited commercial fishing can be reinstated by regulation,” he said. “This does not affect the rights of recreational fishers.”
The right to fish in the reserve is subject to the Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 1986 and the Fisheries (Central Area Amateur Fishing) Regulations 1986.
“Establishing a mataitai reserve does not prevent access to a reserve and does not change existing arrangements for access to private land,” Mr Lockwood said. “It provides for customary fishing and management practices, and recognises the relationship that the applicants, Ngati Konohi, have with the area.”
Establishing a mataitai reserve allows local Maori to recommend bylaws to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture that restrict or prohibit fishing in a mataitai reserve.
The Minister has discretion to accept or decline recommended bylaws. Before any decision is made on recommended bylaws, there must be public consultation and careful consideration given to the impact of proposed bylaws on anyone who fishes in a reserve. Bylaws apply to everyone fishing in a reserve and cannot exclude non-Maori.
The only exception is that Maori, despite any bylaws in place, can continue to use the customary permit provisions to authorise customary fishing in a reserve in order to sustain the functions of a marae. Customary authorisations must be reported to the Ministry of Fisheries.
The recognition of and provision for non-commercial customary fisheries is a critical component of the 1992 Fisheries Deed of Settlement that secured the settlement of Treaty of Waitangi claims relating to fisheries.
Establishment of a mataitai reserve provides for customary fishing and management practices, and recognises the relationship local Maori have with the area.
Maori may apply to establish a mataitai reserve over any part of their traditional fishing areas. There are currently 20 mataitai reserves, including this new reserve. Fourteen mataitai reserves are in South Island waters and six are in the North Island.