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A submission on 'Government Proposals for Consultation: The Foreshore and Seabed of New Zealand' from arc.


arc is making a submission on the foreshore and seabed issue. As a Pakeha/Tauiwi group we feel that it is an imperative that we express our opposition, disappointment and embarrassment at the stance the Crown has taken on this issue and the process it has directed.

arc (Aotearoa reality check or anti-racism crew) is a national network of young Pakeha and Tauiwi (non-Maori) that actively support Tino Rangatiratanga (Maori self-determination / independence / sovereignty). Our vision is a treaty-based Aotearoa. arc is dedicated to finding ways to address the colonial history of this land through taking responsibility for educating ourselves and other Pakeha / Tauiwi. We believe that a just future for Aotearoa depends on Pakeha / Tauiwi youth accepting the injustices of the past that resulted from disregarding the terms of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and violating the guarantee of Tino Rangatiratanga.

arc sees Te Tiriti as the blueprint of a shared future for Tangata Whenua and Pakeha / Tauiwi peoples with vastly different cultures and works towards building a nation on just foundations. arc exists to provide a contact point and sense of community nationally for young Pakeha committed to the kaupapa (theme, topic, initiative) of honourable kawanatanga (governance), to promote and provide education and to encourage regional accountabilities with manawhenua (local Iwi, Hapu and Whanau that hold rangatiratanga / kaitiakitanga over local resources).

Before we go into any specific details we want to make it clear that we do not agree with or support:

  • The Government intervening in the court justice process, compromising the ability for Iwi to have access to the Maori Land Court.
  • The lack of responsibility the Government has taken in educating and allowing for full, correct and balanced information dissemination on this issue (This includes the 'Protecting Public Access and Customary Rights' proposals document).
  • Media and political parties 'fear mongering' and creation of space for a solely one sided debate.
  • The proposal from the Crown itself (we will go into this later in this document.
  • The format for submissions, which only provides a narrow scope, directing people's views and opinions rather then calling for educated debate on the underlying issues. We identify this as being a monocultural framework for participation. In addition to this, it is disrespectful to ask people to comment on such important issues on only two lines.

  • The Consultation Process

    This consultation process is reflective of the ongoing disregard the Crown has shown for its Treaty partners over time. Once again the Crown appears to be going through a process that serves their interests, within a pre-determined framework which does not allow for dissenting views.

    The Crown's 'consultation' has been entirely on their terms and not about meaningful dialogue between sovereign peoples as guaranteed under Te Tiriti O Waitangi. The word 'consultation' infers a more powerful group telling a less powerful group what they are going to do, rather than a working partnership. We are being asked to respond to something that the Crown has formulated rather than respond to an alternative Hapu or Iwi view, which should have equal weight.

    The 'consultation' process is further flawed at a very basic level because Pakeha/Tauiwi groups are being asked to 'submit' at the same time and level of significance as Hapu and Iwi.

    We believe that the timeframe has been unacceptably short, considering the fundamental importance this issue is to the whole of Aotearoa/New Zealand. This view has been expressed by Hapu and Iwi, throughout the country, as well.

    The Four Principles

    Here are our responses to the four principles in the proposal:

  • Principle of Access
  • We refute the use of the term 'access' as it suggests access to the foreshore and seabed is threatened by tipuna title. 'Access' was never discussed in the court case that sparked this issue in the first place. 'Access' needs only be discussed at the point at which courts had made decisions, rather than projected fears from Tauiwi. It is not Tangata Whenua who have blocked access to the beach for 'all NZers' (which generally means Tauiwi in most cases) but actually private owners, exploitative commercial enterprise and government agencies.

    We believe that the government should take steps to implement and recognise Te Tiriti and understand that the seabed and foreshore are the domain of Iwi, Hapu and Whanau.

    arc does not support the 'Principle of Access'.

  • Principle of Regulation
  • The government claims to be working on behalf of 'all NZers' but in effect has made it clear that they themselves are the only group that define and regulate use of the seabed and foreshore, which undermines the rangatiratanga of Tangata Whenua as guaranteed by Te Tiriti.

    We do not agree that the power to regulate is separate from that of ownership. We do not see this as congruent with kawanatanga as defined by Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

    arc does not support the Principle of Regulation.

  • Principle of Protection
  • We see the principle of protection as a paternalistic, confusing and unhelpful proposal. The notion of 'customary interests' is redundant because that term is not recognised in international law, domestic common law, or Maori law and is typical of the government's lyrical but flimsy approach to this issue. This means again the government is doing the defining, something we do not see as acceptable.

    The crown should recognise tipuna title. This means trusting Tikanga protocols of Iwi and Hapu which have been in place as a means of 'protection' since well before the establishment of the settler government.

    arc does not support the Principle of Protection.

  • Principle of Certainty
  • If the government truly wanted 'certainty' in this issue a clear way to achieve this would be to work on a Treaty based resolution to this debate rather than propagate another clear breach of Te Tiriti. The latter is how we see this principle and indeed the whole proposal.

    We believe that the implementation of any lasting resolution to this issue needs to be created within a holistic and wide minded understanding of Te Tiriti and constitutional change.

    arc does not support the Principle of Certainty.


    arc strongly supports many of the proposals and suggestions put forward by Iwi as an alternative to the Government's proposals.

    A 'one size fits all' solution simply will not work; this will most likely be resolved by negotiation at a local level between Iwi, Hapu and Whanau and local authorities.

    In conclusion, if processes to date had been based on a Te Tiriti partnership we wouldn't be in this mess of mistrust, ignorance and anger. As young Pakeha/ Tauiwi we strongly disagree with the entire process to date and the principles proposed by the crown. We are calling for a complete rethink of this issue that is not one sided and based on fear. This colonial mind set is simply not acceptable and is not a reflection of how the youth of this country view the way forward.

    We see this issue as an excellent opportunity for a positive commitment to be made by the Crown and local government to become more knowledgeable and to genuinely honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi, to the benefit of us all.

    Yours sincerely,
    2 October 2003.

    Please Note: We would like the chance to submit orally if possible.

    Back to foreshore and seabed information.

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