The Fisheries Settlement

The Ngati Mutunga o Wharekauri Iwi Trust was established to receive fisheries settlement.

History of the Fisheries Settlement.

The Treaty of Waitangi guaranteed to Māori their lands, forests and fisheries. Over time, however, New Zealand law began to regulate commercial fisheries, so that Māori control was substantially eroded. Maori claimed in proceedings in the High Court and in various claims to resolve this grievance, in 1989 an interim agreement was reached. The Crown transferred 10% of the quota (some 60,000 tonnes) together with shareholdings in fishing companies and $50 million in cash to the Waitangi Fisheries Commission. This commission was responsible for holding the fisheries assets on behalf of Māori until an agreement was reached as to how the assets were to be shared among tribes.

In 1992, a second part of the deal, referred to as the Sealord deal, marked full and final settlement of Māori commercial fishing claims under the Treaty of Waitangi. This included $150 million to be used for the development and involvement of Maori in fishing including a joint venture with Brierleys to acquire Sealords and 20% of all new species brought under the quota system. This was confirmed in December 1992 with the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Claim Settlement Act.

There was significant challenge and dispute over alternative methods for allocating the asset amongst iwi. Although Ngati Mutunga believed the overall Maori Fisheries Settlement did not account for specific Chatham Island issues and hence could not equitably compensate the Chatham Islands in respect of Maori claims to commercial fisheries on the island, it was never in a position to change the broad principles / constraints which had been put in place for all iwi.

This resulted in the agreement of the Maori Fisheries Settlement Act in 2004 which included a unique allocation mechanism for the Chathams:

1. If a quota management area was entirely within the Chatham Island zone (within 200 nautical miles) then all quota was attributable to the Chatham Islands.

2. If the quota management area was partly within the Chatham Island zone then a proportion, equal to the amount of stock taken in the Chatham Island only zone plus 50% of the shared zone as a % of the total stock taken from the quota management area, was attributable to the Chatham Islands.

The Maori Fisheries Settlement Act also prescribed how allocation was to be split between Ngati Mutunga and Moriori. The large majority was required to be allocated according to a negotiated agreement on coastline split with small minority based on population as outlined below:

1. For inshore quota, the Chatham Island quota, was then required to be allocated between Ngati Mutunga and Moriori as agreed between the two Mandated Iwi Organisations (MIO) in a registered coastline agreement. This was to be agreed in proportion that each iwi coastline bears to the total coastline of the Chatham Islands.

2. For deepwater the Chatham Island quota was divided into two equal parcels. The first parcel was required to be allocated between the two MIO according to the registered coastline agreement above. The second parcel was required to be allocated based on population.

Te Ohu Kaimoana, was also set up to oversee all Māori commercial fishing settlement assets and to allocate iwi settlements.

Ngati Mutunga o Wharekauri Trust receipt of Fisheries Receipt

In 2003 there were two Ngāti Mutunga Iwi Organisations, they were the Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri Trust Incorporated and Te Runanga o Wharekauri Rekohu Incorporated. The Maori Fisheries Act and Te Oho Kai Moana (TOKM) required one Mandated Iwi Organisations (MIO) to receive fisheries settlement assets.

In September 2003, both organisations agreed to establish a single entity to represent Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri to receive mandate for fisheries and to progress fisheries settlement.

In 2004 consultation hui were held on Wharekauri. Otautahi, Urenui and Whanganui-a-Tara to vote and ratify the Trust Deed. By September of that year the Deed was ratified and by October the Ngati Mutunga o Wharekauri Trust had received ACE from TOKM for the 2004 season. In September 2005 the Trust became a mandated iwi organisation (by postal vote concluded at the AGM) and received fisheries settlement. The coastline agreement was concluded with Hokotehi Moriori Trust and settlement received shortly afterwards.

This resulted in the Chatham Island to be the one of (if not the first) area to receive full fisheries settlement and allowed Ngati Mutunga to begin to focus it's resources on growing it's asset base rather than protracted negotiations and /or disputes. Although Ngati Mutunga o Wharekauri Iwi Trust believes that the combined quantum of Iwi, Chatham Island Enterprise Trust and individual Chatham Island fisher quota allocated or settled is inequitable (and has resulted in the island being a minority owner of it's own quota), a base has been created where the Island owned quota can begin working for the best interests of the island.