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Iwi commit to ensuring 'best possible outcome' for Rangitahua Ocean Sanctuary

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Today, the Annual General Meeting of Te Ohu Kaimoana Trustee Limited resolved to ensure the best possible outcome for the Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary.

"Given the progress made in our ongoing discussions with the Crown, today’s decision brings us a step closer to achieving the best possible outcome for iwi," says Rangimarie Hunia (Ngāti Whātua), Chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana.

While the Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary proposal will undoubtedly impact the commercial fishing rights conferred on iwi under the 1992 Deed of Settlement, Te Ohu Kaimoana is committed to ensuring the fishing rights legislated for in the Māori Fisheries Act 2004 are upheld.

"We have been in discussions with the Crown for almost seven years regarding Rangitāhua, and the proposal has materially changed from its initial form," says Ms Hunia.

"While there are a range of views across iwi as to the best way forward regarding the proposal, preserving our hard-fought fishing rights is an important pou to uphold alongside our responsibility as kaitiaki to te taiao and our interdependent relationship with Tangaroa."

Te Ohu Kaimoana was established to advance the interests of Māori in fishing and fisheries-related activities. Central to the organisation’s work is a recognition that dependence on hauhake (cultivation) is underpinned by obligations as kaitiaki - one cannot exist without the other.

"Narratives that Māori rights and interests in fisheries exist in opposition to conservation efforts and sustainability could not be further from the truth. The establishment of the Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary provides an opportunity for the Government to adopt a mātauranga Māori approach to marine protection, conservation and sustainability," says Ms Hunia.

"Finding the right balance is the next challenge we are ready to meet."

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