Te Kahu o Taonui which is a collective of Taitokerau Iwi Chairs and CEOs from Te Aupouri, Ngāti Kuri, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāi Takoto, Ngāpuhi, Kahukuraariki, Whangaroa, Ngāti Wai and Ngāti Whatua ki Kaipara have collectively acknowledged the Government has put a comprehensive ban on all non-essential fishing activities.
Te Kahu o Taonui understand these directives, however Ngāti Kahu Chair Margaret Mutu says “there is growing unease from Taitokerau about the Government's heavy handed and uncoordinated approach to the application of law, especially when it comes to interfering with the traditional fishing needs of our collective Iwi and whānau.
She notes that “Commercial fishing is deemed essential, while traditional fishing for subsistence has been wrongly lumped in with recreational fishing and is considered non-essential. We do not wish to flout the law; however, this misapplication of law discriminates and further disadvantages our whānau for whom kaimoana remains a basic and affordable dietary staple”.
Harry Burkhardt (Ngāti Kuri) – Chair of the Pandemic Response for Te Kahu o Taonui says that “as a collective we acknowledge, understand and accept concerns the Government holds about potential accidents necessitating emergency service callouts”.
Burkhardt notes that the following factors were not fully canvassed with Iwi partners by Government in reaching the decision to effectively ban ‘customary’ kaimoana gathering in particular:
For our whānau, kaimoana gathering has played a significant role and at times for many their only food source.
Kaimoana gathering can be framed in a similar way as our current COVID-19 practices for our whānau visiting any supermarket including a conscious application of social distancing and personal hygiene practices.
The ban risks criminalising our people going to get kai
As a collective, we call on the Government to modify the current fishing restrictions and to class ‘customary’ fishing as ‘essential work’ with the proviso that it be limited to shore fishing and kaimoana gathering.
Signed Iwi Chairs: Harry Burkhardt (Ngati Kuri), Rick Witana (Te Aupouri) Haami Piripi (Te Rarawa) Wallace Rivers (Ngai Takoko) Margaret Mutu (Ngati Kahu), Roger Kingi (Kahukuraariki), Murray Moses (Whaingaroa) Mere Mangu (Ngapuhi) Haydn Edmonds (Ngati Wai) Naida Glavish (Ngati Whatua)
Te Kahu o Taonui is a Northland Collective of Iwi Chairs. They will be releasing a series of regular statements on issues of importance to Taitokerau to highlight areas of concern impacting their respective communities.