Implementation Strategy, another first for the Waikato River
JOINT MEDIA RELEASE - Waikato-Tainui Te Kauhanganui Inc. and Ministry of Fisheries
12 May 2009
For Waikato-Tainui and the Ministry of Fisheries (MFish), the launch of an implementation strategy today means that agreements and mechanisms have been realised to begin collectively managing the aquatic life of the Waikato River catchment in a way that recognises and provides for the values of iwi.
Co-signatory to the strategy and MFish CEO Wayne McNee said he is pleased his Ministry is the first Crown agency to sign off a joint work programme around the collective vision of the Crown and iwi to improve the health and wellbeing of the river.
“The work programme we have developed together will ultimately benefit the river’s fisheries and those who use and value its resources,” said Mr McNee. “Today’s signing marks the first step in Waikato-Tainui having significant involvement in fisheries management. The implementation plan lays the foundation for co-management of the fishery provided in the Treaty Settlement between Crown and iwi.”
Waikato-Tainui CEO Hemi Rau says the first step is the formation of a joint resource allocation body tasked with prioritising work programmes and allocating resources and funding.
“What it means for the tribe and MFish is that there will be more of a collective approach to fisheries processes,” said Mr Rau.
“The work programmes cover initiatives ranging from the development of plans, through to participation in pest eradication and the transfer of fish. These are great examples of co-management in practice.”
Waikato-Tainui and the Crown achieved a Deed of Settlement for historical claims over the Waikato River in August 2008, and a Waikato River Fisheries Accord was signed later that year to formalise the fisheries management section in the deed.
The accord recognises the special and unique relationship Waikato-Tainui has with the river, as well as the tribe’s desire to see the river managed in a hands-on way, not only with respect to customary fishing, but also for protecting the sustainability of fisheries resources.
In closing, Mr Rau said “our Claims team has been working hard with MFish staff to develop relationships and strategies that are not only positive for all the parties involved, but more importantly for the health and wellbeing of river.”