July 08, 2013
Expertise powered treaty negotiation
Tributes are being paid to one of the key members of the team that secured the Māori fisheries settlement.
Marine biologist George Habib of Ngāti Tuwharetoa died on Friday of a heart attack at the age of 69, and is being buried in Taupo today.
Dr Habib was an expert witness in the Muriwhenua and Ngāi Tahu fisheries claims, and acted as secretary to the Māori Fisheries Negotiators for the 1992 Sealord deal.
Te Ohu Kaimoana Chief Executive Pete Douglas says there were no precedents for treaty negotiations, but having a technical expert of Dr Habib’s calibre on board allowed the Māori negotiators to shape the sort of settlement they were looking for.
"So you don’t just go in and say 'what's the government got on offer, let's try to ratchet it up a bit.' You go in with a much clearer design as to what you are hoping to get. George was able to give Matiu Rata, who led the negotiators, the sort of technical back up and facts that you need for that sort of negotiation," Mr Douglas says.
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