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Maori Leaders Call For The Minister To Respect The Rāhui Set By Hapu And Iwi

Press Release – Mauri o te Moana

On Thursday 26 August, over 200 people joined an online LIVE hui to discuss tikanga surrounding rahui and the challenges that Tangata Whenua face in implementing restorative measures for the environment. Link: https://fb.watch/7CYoxYT5Tq/ In the event organised …

On Thursday 26 August, over 200 people joined an online LIVE hui to discuss tikanga surrounding rahui and the challenges that Tangata Whenua face in implementing restorative measures for the environment.

Link: https://fb.watch/7CYoxYT5Tq/

In the event organised by Mauri o te Moana, Maori Leaders – Joe Davis (Ngati Hei), Nyze Manuel (Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa) and Herearoha Skipper (Ngati Paoa) whose Iwi have set down rāhui. Iwi have been waiting months for a response from the Minister of Oceans and Fisheries in their applications through s186a of the Fisheries Act to protect their rohe moana. The hui was facilitated by Mike Smith, Pou Take Āhuarangi, Iwi Chairs Forum.

Tangata Whenua, Marae, Hapu a Iwi have been experiencing the degradation of their rohe moana since colonisation. The loss of wāhi taonga and the taonga species associated with these areas has been distressing and made the application of tīkanga (customary practices) more and more challenging as localised extinction of taonga occurs.

“Seeing the bottom of the ocean floor and the condition it was in, our beds were pretty much depleted. It weighed heavily on me to protect our moana. [While], it’s a series of things that have happened in our moana, actually the damage is done by people. We [ahikaa] needed to do something,” says Nyze Manuel, Ngāti Kahu ki Whangaroa.

The application of customary measures such as rāhui has been happening for thousands of years around the Pacific to ensure sustainable use of taonga species.

“Back in the day, when our kaumatua identified an issue, they would have just gone out and tukuna te karakia and kātia (say the appropriate karakia for the job would be done)” says, Herearoha Skipper, Ngāti Pāoa. The context today is more involved, and certainly when it comes to trying to enforce rāhui by local and central authorities.

The Fisheries Act spousal provides for hapū and Iwi to seek legislative support under s186a to back customary measures such as rāhui and mataitai legally. However, it is proving to be problematic and frustrating for Tangata Whenua to use due to long delays in the Ministry responding. Joe Davis referred to scallop fishers disregarding the rāhui despite it having been set down by Ngāti Hei with resounding support of the local community in December of last year.

“They [commercial fishers] are not going to respond unless there is some legislation that will support what we are trying to do. That is a tragedy. And they will flaunt their right to absolutely hammer Tipa (scallops) and fish that they think is fair game [legally]” says Joe Davis, Ngāti Hei.

Mauri o te Moana have started a petition to urge for a decision on these matters with the Ministry for Fisheries New Zealand.

“We are calling on Hon. David Parker, Minister for Oceans and Fisheries to show leadership in giving effect to the tikanga rāhui placed by hapū and iwi of Ngāti Hei; Ngāti Pāoa; and Ngāti Kāhu ki Whangaroa by gazetting the provisions of s186A of the Fisheries Act by expediting these applications to stop the degradation and loss of taonga species in these rohe moana” says Bianca Ranson for Mauri o te Moana.

Petition Link:

https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/respect-rahui-supporting-the-protection-of-our-oceans

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