Mt Maunganui and Tauranga Harbour mataitai
28 August 2008
A mataitai reserve over waters surrounding Mt Maunganui and part of Tauranga Harbour in Bay of Plenty is to be established, Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said today.
Mataitai Reserves are authorised under the Kaimoana Customary Fishing Regulations and recognise traditional Mäori fishing grounds that are important for customary food gathering. They also allow the local Tauranga Moana – Ngaiterangi, Ngäti Ranginui and Ngäti Pukenga, to advise the Minister of Fisheries directly on how best to manage fishing in the local area.
Jim Anderton said this mätaitai reserve would allow the Tauranga Moana to more effectively manage customary fishing in important traditional fishing grounds.
“The reserve recognises the strong and enduring connection the hapu has with this area.”
Commercial fishing will be banned within the six km2 mätaitai reserve but recreational and customary fishing will still be allowed. Recreational fishing will not require a permit from local Mäori.
Jim Anderton said the Mt Maunganui mätaitai reserve would have no effect on the local community’s ability to go fishing or gather shellfish under the existing recreational allowances. .However, the current temporary closure to the take of green-lipped mussels between Moturiki and Motuotau Islands would remain in place until it expires on 6 December 2009.
In the future, the Tangata Tiaki/Kaitiaki (guardians) for the mätaitai reserve may recommend bylaws to the Minister of Fisheries that could impose some restrictions within the boundaries of the mätaitai reserve. Any such restrictions would apply equally to everyone fishing within the mätaitai reserve. Customary seafood gathering for Mäori cultural purposes would be governed by authorisations issued by appointed guardians (rather than recreational regulations), as is currently the case for customary fishing around many areas of the North Island.
Jim Anderton said that as Minister, he was ultimately responsible for all New Zealand’s fisheries, and must carefully consider any fishing restriction recommended by the guardians and must approve them before they come into effect.
“I carefully considered the effect the mätaitai reserve would have on commercial fishers. I recognise that the mätaitai reserve will affect some, but overall, I do not believe those effects will prevent them from taking their catch entitlements.”
The mätaitai reserve will come into effect on the 25th September 2008.
The proposal for this mätaitai reserve was extensively consulted on with the local community including two separate calls for written submissions, two public meetings and direct discussions with local Mäori.