In the mid-1800s, Māori commercial trading and fishing flourished throughout the country. Their centuries-old right to customary fishing gave them access to abundant kai moana which they traded with Pākehā settlers.
But the disruption of land wars and racist laws like the 1886 Oyster Fisheries Act meant their commercial activities were short-lived.
It saw iwi denied of their customary fishing rights - a wrong that wouldn’t be overturned until 2004 under the Māori Fisheries Act.
Rather than navigate the modern fishing sector alone, 15 iwi came together in 2010 to form the Iwi Collective Partnership which recently won the 2018 Outstanding Māori Business Leadership Award.
It pools 16,000+ metric tonnes of fisheries resources owned by the 15 iwi, allowing it to optimise returns and create economics of scale to better manage, protect and grow the pot for all members.
“A big aspiration of ours is to bring iwi together to develop a plan for the next 30-40 years in the fisheries sector,” says ICP Chair, Mark Ngata. “We also want to plan where we can best spend our funds to do the research, the science, but also use the customary side as well about how can manage the resources better.”
The ICP also gives out scholarships, seafood training grants, iwi development funding and customary fisheries initiatives.