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

Kia ora koutou,

I write as a Pakeha, born in this country, and with a love for the land and our people in it. I recognise that my right to live in this land was given to me through Te Tiriti o Waitangi. And in this treaty, Maori were given rights for which they have never stopped trying to assert. That these rights were ignored, forcibly removed and legislated away, does not mean they do not exist.

As a resident of Canterbury, I attended the foreshore/seabed hui at Rapaki Marae. I was very impressed with the presentation by iwi, and strongly supported the iwi who have manawhenua over the area within which I live.

I have no cause to repeat any of the arguments that were presented at this hui. However, I do want to offer my support to statements by different speakers. The proposals that Dr Michael Cullen outlined in his presentation were obviously efforts to mediate some sort of middle of the road outcome. I donít believe that it is possible to do this, if, as a nation, we uphold the Treaty of Waitangi.

Maori have never given ownership of the seabed and foreshore to the Crown, and reading through some history you can see that this was never the case. Therefore it is erroneous for the Crown to claim this ownership. This breaches Article II of the Treaty. The Crown had made an apology at Onuku Marae to Ngai Tahu, and it is very sad seeing how this state of affairs regarding foreshore/seabed has played out.

I have no problem with Maori exercising tino rangatiratanga and kaitiakitanga over seabed/foreshore over which they hold manawhenua. I respect their rights to assert this, and think it is mischievous for the government to allow the issues of public access to figure so prominently in this debate.

I support the proposals made by Ngai Tahu and include some of my own.

  • I believe that the timeframe must be much longer to allow proper consultation.

  • I believe that these issues must be addressed on each instance with iwi and hapu at which the appropriate authority lies.

  • I believe the government needs to wade through the scaremongering and proactively engage Pakeha in this discussion.

  • I believe that there needs to be greater dialogue around the issue of customary title, to educate - but also to clarify.

As a Pakeha I am only beginning to engage and understand these issues - but I do not want to approach nor react to them based on misinformation and fear. Therefore, I believe it is imperative that this process is given the time that is needed to allow people to fully participate and understand.

Yours, etc
Debs Martin
1 October 2003

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