March 29, 2016
Warriors for Maori fishing rights remembered
Delegates to today’s Maori Fisheries conference in Auckland will receive a book spelling out how the bounty they take for granted came about.
Te Ika a Maori: The Struggle for Maori Fishing Rights by Brian Bargh looks at the conflict over the nation’s fishing rights from battles over oyster beds in the 1860s to the wholesale clearance of Maori fishers from the industry at the start of the quota management system in the 1980s.
That led to the legal battles and fisheries settlements of the 1980s and early 1990s, leading to today when iwi control half the country’s fisheries assets.
Mr Bargh says it’s a story of huge gambles and courage by Maori leaders and the political leaders who responded to their challenge.
"Matiu Rata, Bob Mahuta as he was then, those early warriors if you like who took on the government over its quota management system, Sir Graham Latimer, Tipene O'Regan, they were instrumental in starting on the road to the recovery of Maori fishing rights," he says.
Te Ika a Maori is published by Huia.
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