Around 100 North Canterbury land owners have had their farms gazetted into mataitai fishing reserves as of September without being informed or consulted.
A mataitai reserve is an area where local Maori manage all non-commercial fishing by making bylaws.
The Fisheries (South Island Customary Fishing) Regulations 1999 say that such reserves may be set up if there is a “special relationship” between local Maori and the proposed reserve area, and if it is an “identified traditional ground of a size that may be managed by local Maori”.
The Fisheries Minister, who is currently Stuart Nash, must decline the application if it does not meet one or more of the criteria of the steps set out in the process for declaring a reserve.
While researching un-notified changes to recreational fishing restrictions around Kaikoura, one landowner there found to his horror that his farm was to become a fishing reserve.
Having a fishing reserve on his farm is nonsense because the streams that go back 40km from the coast have neither eels nor any other harvestable fish species.
Further investigation revealed that the mataitai allows a right for Maori to commercially harvest, probably eels, exclusively in one part of the gazetted area.
Notice of an intention to set up the reserves was published in a newspaper that does not circulate in the areas concerned, and no notification was included in rate demands sent to land owners.
Any attempt to designate land without fish as a fishing reserve is nonsense, and to do so without notification under the guise of tribal rights to protect the environment is deceit in the extreme.
Te Mata Peak track land to become reserve
The land at Te Mata Peak near Hastings where the Craggy Range winery built a controversial walking track will be turned into a regional park, according to the Hawke's Bay Regional Council.
The winery built the track on 52ha of its land with the consent of the Hastings District Council. One trustee of the Te Mata Park Trust Board, the entity which manages land on the western side of the peak, is the great-grandson of the person who gifted that land to the people of Hastings.
The first complaint about the track was by the partner of this trustee who set up a “remove the track” Change.org petition that attracted thousands of signatures. This prompted a “save the track” petition that attracted more signatures.
Soon, local iwi added claims about the area being sacred and complaints about not being consulted.
At one stage, Ngati Kahungunu chair Ngahiwi Tomoana told Craggy Range to burn the tribe’s name off a plaque marking the winery opening 20 years earlier if it didn’t remove the track.
The “solution” is that three Hastings businessmen including the Craggy Range CEO have bought the 52ha and gifted it to “the people of Hawke’s Bay”.
This land will be managed by another trust, the founding trustees of which will be Rex Graham, chairman of Hawke's Bay Regional Council, and Ngahiwi Tomoana, chairman of Ngati Kahungunu.
The Hastings District Council has already filled in the top 500 metres of the track at a cost of $62,000, and removing the remaining 1335 metres is expected to cost $150,000.
The area is to be planted in native trees, shrubs, flaxes and so on. Another track may be built, depending on what the trustees decide.
Without spending a cent, this is how the local iwi got control of the eastern side of Te Mata Peak.
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