Kaikōura Water Zone Committee

180503 water zone committee

A brief word from Ted Howard, Chair of the Kaikōura Water Zone Committee - "Two fresh water mataitai were recently gazetted for parts of the Kahutara and Oaro catchments and were raised at our last meeting.  There was a lot of misunderstanding about what they are.  Their history is long and complex.  From a legal perspective, the NZ parliament accepted that their existence is guaranteed by article 2 of the Treaty of Waitangi, and from a Māori perspective their existence is a far older expression of Kaitiakitanga – the responsibility of all to care for the environment and the treasures it delivers to us.

From a legal perspective, mataitai are explicitly embodied in the Fisheries Act 1996 and the Ngai Tahu Claims Settlement Act of 1998; yet their legal existence is much older, as even the 1908 Act had a clause stating “Nothing in this Part of this Act shall affect any existing Maori fishing rights”, without actually defining what those rights were (that stayed in the “too hard” basket for another 80 years).

From a local perspective, mataitai were a substantive part of the Te Korowai discussions, and were explicitly mentioned in the 2011 Te Korowai Strategy on pages viii, xviii, 85, 89, 101, 103 and 106.

In practice they are a right of fisheries management, and apply only to NZ Fisheries waters (not to land).   They are one expression of the rights to management of fisheries guaranteed in the Treaty.   Any restrictions on fisheries expressed in any regulations apply equally to all people.

The idea that we all have a responsibility to care for our environment is common to most cultures.
We all do have that responsibility.

We all need to respect each other, the diversity of approaches to issues that is present, and the environment that sustains us.   We are getting better at it.  We have further to go.  Earthquake stress doesn’t help.”


About the Committee

Kaikōura Water Zone Committee is a group of people in our community that are passionate about water in Kaikōura.

They meet monthly on the first Wednesday from 12.30pm in the Council Chambers. Come along and listen in - the meetings are public! 

The Kaikōura Water Zone is one of the most tectonically active parts of New Zealand and features diverse landscapes, biodiversity and land uses over short distances. It's distinctively rocky coast in close proximity to high mountains gives rise to many short, steep, swift-flowing rivers. The vision for Kaikōura is to ensure its water enhances the abundance and quality of life in the region. 


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26 April 2019