'Honour Te Korowai strategy'

EMMA DANGERFIELD
Last updated 09:00 23/05/2014

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Te Korowai o Te Tai o Marokura Marine Strategy should be left as it was intended, as it belongs to the community of Kaikoura and represents nine years of exhaustive work through a thorough consensus process.

That was the message given to parliament's local government and environment select committee when it met in Kaikoura yesterday to hear submissions on the Kaikoura Marine Management Bill.

More than 20 submissions were received, with 10 of those submitters asking to be heard.

The overriding request was that where the bill departed from the strategy, the intent of the strategy be fulfilled in order to protect the good faith in which it was prepared.

In particular the proposed marine reserve's boundaries were addressed. Members of the committee questioned the boundaries as set out in the strategy, which include an on-shore length of just 1.95km, far smaller than in other marine reserves around the country.

Canterbury Marlborough Rock Lobster Industry Association (Cramac 5) executive officer Larnce Wichman said the boundaries had been thoroughly worked through by the guardian group that represented those who live, work in and use the area. They did not want outsiders to come and interfere after so much effort, he said.

The Te Korowai process operated on a gifts and gains philosophy, not solely for environmental purposes but for those who used the ocean. Any change to the boundaries would be unacceptable to the lobster industry, he said.

Committee members highlighted submissions in favour of changing the boundary lines, both on and offshore, and asked Wichman whether he felt concerns from the wider community had been satisfied. Wichman, who is also the chair of Te Korowai, said more than 160 submissions had been received on the draft strategy, all of which had been taken into account when producing the final document.

Support also came from the paua industry, recreational fishermen, the local branch of Forest & Bird, the Kaikoura District Council and Te Runanga o Kaikoura, all of whom highlighted the value of the strategy as a local solution to local issues.

Representatives of the Kaikoura branch of Forest & Bird conceded they did not agree with the national Forest & Bird submission, which called for a greater on-shore boundary and amendment to the other boundaries to simplify them. Ailsa Howard and Barry Dunnett said from a local perspective they had been profoundly pleased with the level of trust and buy-in from all parties around the table.

"If Te Korowai is to have mana and purpose it is important to adopt it as it stands," said Howard.

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Dunnett said while it was not perfect, it was a "good package all round".

Runanga o Kaikoura kaiwhakahaere Sir Mark Solomon said while the coastal boundary was less than 2km, the marine itself was still one of the largest ever proposed. It took in the Kaikoura Canyon, the area of importance for the local community as well as further afield. He too requested the intent of the strategy remain intact to honour the gifts and gains philosophy.

The bill aims to put in place management measures for the coast and sea around Kaikoura including a marine reserve, whale and New Zealand fur seal sanctuaries, five customary fisheries areas, an advisory committee, and fishing regulations.

It had its first reading on March 20. The report is due in September.

- The Marlborough Express

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