June 14, 2023
Iwi reject Kermadec ocean sanctuary plan
Iwi has voted overwhelmingly to reject the Crown’s framework for the establishment of the proposed Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary.
Te Ohu Kaimoana chair Rangimarie Hunia says the result of yesterday’s special general meeting shows there’s need for more discussion with the Crown about iwi rights guaranteed under the 1992 Māori Fisheries Settlement.
The sanctuary proposal first announced in 2015 by then prime minister John Key without consultation with Maori would have extinguished those rights.
The proposed sanctuary would prohibit any commercial activity for 20 years in 620,000km2 of the EEZ surrounding the Kermadec Island group, which coincides with Fisheries Management Area 10. This area is home to Highly Migratory Species (HMS) such as Swordfish, Yellowfin Tuna, Big Eye Tuna, Albacore Tuna and Skipjack Tuna.
The Crown’s latest proposal includes $40 million over 20 years for research on aquatic life and fish stocks in fisheries management area 10 around the island group, with oversight by a joint Crown-Iwi entity called Te Kāhui.
Ms Hunia says iwi believe an indigenous led approach, designed by iwi for iwi is the only pathway forward and a first step toward any form of future marine management arrangements for that area.
Oceans Minister David Parker says he’s disappointed by the decision, as he thought the parties were close to agreement.