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Options to protecting Maori customary rights to the foreshore and seabed

Press release

23 October 2003

Te Ope Mana a Tai has just released a draft options paper to resolve the foreshore and seabed issue for whanau, hapu and Iwi around the country to consider. The paper has been prepared in time for the third national hui that is being held at Te Pakira marae in Rotorua today.

Te Ope Mana a Tai spokesperson Margaret Mutu says broadly speaking the options attempt to translate tikanga-based rights or rights derived from a Maori values system into a Western-based legal and policy framework.

"It is clear from the two national Maori hui we’ve had and the submissions at the Crown consultation hui that any acceptable solution to Maori must draw on tikanga and be structured within a Treaty of Waitangi framework", says Margaret.

"I don’t see our options having a huge impact on the general public. The key to these proposals is that it would give tangata whenua some legal and political grunt to ensure that their customary rights to the foreshore and seabed are recognised and protected," says Margaret.

Once again, the paper reiterates the point that recognising and protecting Maori customary rights will have negligible impact on public access to the beach but if the Government continues with its current proposals it will have a dire impact on Maori customary rights.

The four key ingredients to any workable solution have been identified as:

  • Identification of customary rights in the coastal marine area (CMA)
  • Legal recognition of those rights
  • What these rights confer when allocating space and resources in the CMA
  • What these rights confer when regulating use of space and resources in CMA

Margaret says "Te Ope Mana a Tai has provided a forum for Maori to discuss and debate these issues. We’re totally committed to ensuring that we advocate workable solutions that reflect where the bulk of our people are coming from. We welcome all feedback from today’s hui and any other comments from hapu and Iwi around the country."

Te Ope Mana a Tai.

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