Ngāti Porou seeks to secure longevity of resources

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes
  • North Island: East Coast

Ngāti Porou lawyer Matanuku Mahuika says hapū of Ngāti Porou stand to gain greater protection and management of their marine and coastal resources through the Ngā Rohe Moana o Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Porou Bill.

"The goal for the hapū of Ngāti Porou is to move forward knowing that they are maintaining the rights to their marine and coastal areas," says Mahuika.

The first Bill of the Marine and Coastal Area Act, the Ngā Rohe Moana o Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Porou Bill, will give Ngāti Porou customary title over significant parts of the East Coast coastline as well as customary rights, such as fishing and the protection of wāhi tapu. It will also require iwi consent for resource consent applications.

"There are aspects to do with fishing, there are other aspects of resource management, all of that," says Mauhika.

At the reading of the Bill, Ngāti Porou leader, the late Dr. Apirana Mahuika, has been acknowledged by Members of Parliament for his role in developing the relationship with the Crown.

Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Settlements Andrew Little says, "I want to acknowledge Dr Apirana Mahuika, the late, and it is with sadness that we remember his passing, so recent in our memories."

National MP Chris Finlayson had a unique relationship with Dr Mahuika. He says, "I must confess I still miss, even today some years after his death, that cherry 'kia ora Chris', a phone call that I used to receive from him. He didn't bother to say who he was because he knew I knew immediately."

Any non-ratifying hapū of Ngāti Porou will be entitled to rely on the processes under the Marine and Coastal Act 2011.

"That avenue is available to them, and also to speak with us of Ngāti Porou as well," says Mahuika.

The next step for the Bill will be to go before the Māori Affairs Select Committee.