Iwi leader makes foreshore and sea bed claim on behalf of all Maori
An iwi leader has a made a claim for the customary rights of New Zealand's foreshore and sea beds on behalf of all Maori.
The application was filed in the High Court in Rotorua, under Marine and Coastal Area Act for customary rights to New Zealand's entire coast, foreshore and waters.
New Zealand Maori Council co-chairman Maanu Paul said his lawyers started working on the claim two months ago.
"As co-chair, I am duty-bound to protect all Maori. So I have filed a claim on behalf of all those Maori who don't read the public notices.
"The law says if you did not apply by last month for registration of your customary rights, you lose them."
Claims can also be made directly to the Crown and to date, there have been more than 100 lodged.
"Those who think we will have monetary gain from this are ignorant," said Paul. "We want to set the rules and regulations that apply to the way our foreshore and seabed is utilised," he said.
"These ships from overseas coming ... with all these bugs and they wreck our kaimoana - we need to protect the sanctity of the waters of our foreshore and seabed.
"Will we establish rules that stop the dumping tonnes of meth on the shores of Northland and around the country? Yes we will.
"Will we stop everybody's right to go fishing? No. Will we stop oil fracking? Yes.
"Will we stop salmon farms that pollute the waters in South Island? Yes.
"This government has allowed that because they think that's the way to get export dollars - but tourism is the bigger earner than the s...-polluting cows of the dairy industry.
"The point is, there are better ways of making export dollars than the stupid ways we have at the moment."
Paul said those "stupid ways are polluting the water, killing our environment and our sustainability."
He said he was duty-bound to protect all Maori, and by definition, that meant all citizens of New Zealand.
"Because what is good for Maori is doubly good for everybody else," Paul said.
"For me personally, I made a claim on behalf of my own whanau. I live at Ohope, I'm one of the surviving mokopuna from the Mataatua waka.
"We've been here for hundreds for years and have been exercising our customary rights to kaimoana."
There are two reasons why the claim was lodged, Paul said.
"In our view, we had mana over that area and we wanted to protect that. So I thought to myself, man, I wonder how many Maori will miss out because they don't read the public notices and that's the fundamental reason why I've applied," he said.
"The second issue is clearly, because there is an elephant in the room.
"And that elephant is the previous and present governments who have failed to educate every citizen on the rights that abide from the Treaty of Waitangi. If we had that, none of this nonsense would be here.
"Because under Article 2 in the treaty, it says that Maori have full - not half a glass - but full exclusive uninterrupted possession of their taonga and the foreshore and sea bed is one of those taonga.
"We want to set the rules and regulations that apply to the way our foreshore and sea bed is utilised."
- Audio thanks to Radio New Zealand