A mataitai fishing reserve has been confirmed for a
small portion of waters off the Kaka Point coastline, elating
local Maori and disappointing fishers who earn a living in
Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton yesterday announced the
mataitai would take effect immediately but legally the
Government has to wait 28 days so all affected parties are
This means the mataitai will take effect from Thursday, April
3, assuming the mataitai is publicly notified this weekend.
Maori groups formally applied for the reserve 18 months ago
and the minister's statement came as a surprise to many.
It was welcomed by the guardians who will oversee the new
reserve but a commercial fishing industry spokesman said it
was a disappointing move that would threaten the livelihood
of divers and threaten to disrupt the re-emerging paua
Commercial fishing will be banned but recreational and
customary fishing is allowed in the reserve area between
Tirohanga and Campbell Point, south of Kaka Point. It covers
about 2.34sq km.
Mataitai reserves recognise traditional Maori fishing grounds
that are important for customary food gathering. They also
allow local tangata whenua to advise the minister directly on
how best to manage fishing in the local area.
Mr Anderton said the Kaka Point mataitai would allow the
Awarua rununga to more effectively manage customary fishing
in what was an important and traditional gathering area.
He stressed the mataitai would have no effect on the local
community's ability to go fishing or gather shellfish under
In the future, he said the guardians of the reserve might
recommend bylaws to him that could impose some restrictions
but any restrictions would apply equally to everyone fishing
within the reserve boundaries.
Mr Anderton said he recognised the mataitai would affect some
commercial fishers but, overall, he believed those effects
would not stop them from taking their catch entitlements.
The new mataitai followed a separate consultation and
decision-making process alongside the controversial plans to
create a marine reserve in the same area.
One of the guardians, Mary Johnstone, said the minister's
decision was a great occasion for the area and a move that
would be of huge benefit to the wider community.
‘‘We're pretty excited about it,'' she said when contacted.
She and other guardians would be trained to manage such a
reserve and a committee would be formed to enforce the
regulations and rules that would be introduced in time.
Although she was not expecting ‘‘any nonsense'', Mrs
Johnstone said some restrictions would be introduced in the
interests of fairness for all.
‘‘We want people to come and be able to go fishing there.
Instead of one person taking 30 crayfish away with them, we
believe they should be allowed to to get what they need so
there is plenty left for others.''
PauaMac5 chairman Storm Stanley said some divers, who work in
the reserve area, would be directly affected in what was a
very productive coastline.
Although he hinted the industry might try and overturn the
minister's decision, Mr Stanley said there was very little
chance of success.