October 23, 2012
Society learns from Sealord deal
It was 20 years ago that Maori negotiators and the Crown signed the Sealord deal, settling Maori fisheries claims.
The Government paid Maori $150 million to buy a half share in New Zealand’s largest fishing company, on top of the 10 percent of quota already handed over in the interim Maori fisheries settlement.
Te Ohu Kaimoana chief executive Peter Douglas, who was working at the time in the office of Prime Minister Jim Bolger, says treaty negotiations were uncharted waters and everybody was learning as they went along and that continues.
“I think we’ve learned a lot about ourselves over these 20 years. We’ve learned about our leadership, what our failings and our strengths are, and I think we are better for it. I think it has made a mark not just on Maori society but on New Zealand society as well," he says.
Mr Douglas says the Maori fisheries settlement is now worth more than $800 million, and Maori are recognised as an important part of the industry.
There is a function at Parliament this evening to mark the anniversary.