Submit against Ngati Porou coastal bill

For those following the long-running shambles to do with tribal claims for the coast, Friday is the deadline for submissions on the Nga Rohe Moana o Nga Hapu o Ngati Porou Bill (No. 2), which gives effect to a deed of agreement between Ngati Porou and the Crown for around 200 km of the East Coast coastline north of Gisborne.

Ngati Porou had reached an agreement on the coastal area in 2008 under Labour’s Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004, but that Act was replaced by National’s Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011, and Ngati Porou did not lodge a claim under that Act within the time period despite having six years to do so.

Until seven years ago, the whole coastal marine area, from the mean high-water springs mark out 12 nautical miles, was vested in the Crown on behalf of all New Zealanders, with everyone having free access.

But under the 2011 Act, those seeking recognition of protected customary rights or customary marine title were enabled to make a claim for that area subject to providing evidence that they had used the area continuously and ‘exclusively’ since 1840 and that they owned the land bordering their claim. This either had to be proven in the High Court or negotiated with the Minister.

Photos of stage coaches driving along the beaches, in the sea, and on tracks around promontories, show that the coast along the area claimed by Ngati Porou was the main path for walkers and coaches from 1840 until the Second World War. Use of the area by travellers disprove claims of exclusive use and should disqualify the Ngati Porou claim for that coastal area.

It appears that Labour’s Michael Cullen negotiated a deal with Ngati Porou and National renegotiated that deal recognising new privileges, even though the validity of Ngati Porou’s claim had never been verified and tested in the High Court.

This bill at least should be opposed on the basis that everyone else had six years in which to lodge their claim – plenty of time for Ngati Porou to comply. A two-year extension is unacceptable, especially as it will delay all other claims that overlap the area.

To make a submission, go to https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/sc/make-a-submission/document/52SCMA_SCF_BILL_78009/ng%C4%81-rohe-moana-o-ng%C4%81-hap%C5%AB-o-ng%C4%81ti-porou-bill-no-2 , click on “I am not a robot”, press “I am ready to make a submission”, and follow the prompts.

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