Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fishers peeved at plunder tag

The Fisheries Minister has riled Maori commercial fishers by accusing them of plundering fish stocks.

Jim Anderton dressed down a Maori fisheries conference last week for accusing the government of siding with environmentalists against the industry.

He followed up by telling Waatea News that chartered vessels hired by Maori plunder the fish until there’s none left.

Ngapuhi chairperson Sonny Tau says the minister's comments smack of election year Maori bashing.

“I was appalled at his comments, especially a minister of that standing, singling out Maori as the commercial plunderers of the resource, when it’s his ministry that sets the total allowable catch, the commercial catch and allocates quota,” Mr Tau says.

He says Jim Anderton needs to improve the quality of advice he is getting from his ministry.


Tariana Turia says water will be a key election issue for Maori.

The Maori Party co-leader says despite their denials, the government and local bodies act as if they own water ... and can in effect on-sell it.

She says Maori don't accept that premise... which is why her own iwi of the Whanganui River have been fighting their river claims for almost 140 years.

“The reason why Government finds it difficult to settle with Whanganui is Whanganui will not accept that you can have a river without water. It’s all very well for the government to bring up these concepts where you can own the banks and you can own the bed of the river, but you can’t own the water. Well, it isn’t a river unless it’s got water in it,” Mrs Turia says.


A new study has found Maori still feel they're treated as second class citizens - but they feel first class.

Auckland University sociologist Louise Humpage has a Marsden Fund grant to research citizenship in New Zealand.

Her initial focus groups have found a marked difference in the way Maori and non-Maori view citizenship.

Dr Humpage says Maori pointed to examples where they thought Maori were treated as second class citizens, such as the treatment of returned servicemen after World War Two and the so called terror raids on Ngai Tuhoe.

“But the irony of it was we had a question at the end saying ‘do you feel like a first class citizen?’ Maori are actually much more likely to answer ‘yes’ to that question than other focus group participants and that seemed to be because they were saying ‘yeah, we’re first peoples, we’re indigenous peoples, so we have these special rights. We may not be treated as first class, but we are,’” Dr Humpage says.

While non-Maori took their citizenship for granted, the Maori in the groups put a higher priority on their identity within their whanau and iwi.


A former fisheries commissioner says the Fisheries Minister is disrespecting not only the Maori fishing industry but his Maori colleagues.

Jim Anderton told Waatea News last week that Maori commercial fishers were plundering fish.

Naida Glavish, the chair of Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua, says the Sydenham MP seems to think he can get away with saying things about Maori fishers he wouldn't say to others in the industry.

She says Mr Anderton's comments to last week's Treaty Tribes fisheries conference were in sharp contrast to the speech early the same day by his associate, Parekura Horomia.

“We also have a Maori minister of fisheries – two IC to Anderton – and so why is he not consulting with Parekura when he makes stupid statements like that,” Ms Glavish says.

She says Labour's Maori MPs should stop behaving like neutered lapdogs and speak out against Mr Anderton's attempts to impose himself on the industry.


Two more iwi have taken control of their fisheries assets.

Te Aupouri in the far north have completed the mandating requirements to pick up $5 million in fish quota, cash and shares in Aotearoa Fisheries, while Ngaruahine in Taranaki have a $2 million dollar payday based on tribal population.

Allie Hemara-Wahanui, the secretary of Ngaruahine, says the iwi took its time so that its hapu understood the process.

She says negotiations on boundaries have been completed with neighbouring iwi Taranaki and Ngati Ruanui, so it should soon be able to collect the balance of its settlement quota, which is distributed according to coastline.

For the immediate future it will continue leasing its quota through an iwi consortium.

“Te Tai a Kupe has a number of Taranaki iwi that are shareholders and we’ve been with it for a number of years so at this stage well continue with them until we’ve developed our own strategy,” Ms Hemara-Wahanui says.

Only nine out of 63 iwi are still to achieve mandated iwi organisation status.


The end of summer means harvest for Maori potato growers.

Tutor Nick Roskruge says students involved in a Massey University research project to re-establish taewa Maori as a commercial species produced a good crop this year, despite the long dry.

They're now helping other growers get their crops in.

He says the university now has 18 different cultivars in its seed bank.

“We keep enough for seed bank for next year, so year by year we maintain each variety as a seed bank, and then eating ones will be sold to recover some fo the costs during the year and the seed ones we will make available. We have people coming through the growers’ collective wanting seed for gardens and marae and different things,” Dr Roskruge says.

Once the harvest is all in, there will be a hui in July at Waipatu in Hastings to celebrate the year of the potato.


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