Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act 1992

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by the Treaty of Waitangi the Crown confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs, tribes, and individual Maori full exclusive and undisturbed possession and te tino rangatiratanga of their fisheries; and


section 88(2) of the Fisheries Act 1983 provides that nothing in that Act shall affect any Maori fishing rights; and


there has been uncertainty and dispute between the Crown and Maori as to the nature and extent of Maori fishing rights in the modern context and as to whether they derive from the Treaty or common law or both (such as by customary law or aboriginal title or otherwise) and as to the import of section 88(2) of the Fisheries Act 1983 and its predecessors; and


Maori have claimed in proceedings in the High Court and in various claims to the Waitangi Tribunal that the quota management system introduced by the Fisheries Amendment Act 1986 is unlawful and in breach of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, or has no application to Maori fisheries (including commercial fisheries), and have obtained from the High Court and Court of Appeal, by way of interim relief, a declaration declaring that the Crown ought not take further steps to bring the fisheries within the quota management system; and


at a national hui held at Wellington in June 1988 the Maori principals were given a mandate by Maori claiming rights and interests in the fisheries of New Zealand to secure a just and honourable settlement of their claims with the Crown; and


the Maori Fisheries Act 1989, an Act “to make better provision for the recognition of Maori fishing rights secured by the Treaty of Waitangi” (which came into force on 20 December 1989) provides for the transfer from the Crown to the Maori Fisheries Commission of quota totalling 10% of the total allowable commercial catches for all species then subject to the quota management system (which transfer was required to be effected in instalments over the period ending with the close of 31 October 1992); and


on 27 February 1990, the Crown and Maori agreed that there should be discussions between them to ensure that the evolution of the quota management system, including the term of quota, met both conservation requirements and the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and further agreed that all substantive court proceedings should stand adjourned sine die to allow discussions to continue, and the Crown agreed that no further species would be brought within the quota management system pending agreement or court resolution; and


there remain disputes between the Crown and Maori as to the nature and extent of Maori fishing rights and interests and their status, and the litigation between the plaintiffs and the Crown is still outstanding with interim declarations in relation to squid and paua and the Crown undertaking not to bring further species within the quota management system still in force; and


on 26 and 27 August 1992, representatives of the Crown and Maori met to discuss their differences with a view to settling outstanding claims and Treaty grievances of Maori in relation to fisheries, and, therefore, the outstanding litigation; and, on 27 August 1992, agreement was reached on a proposal for settlement; and


the Crown and Maori wish to resolve their disputes in relation to the fishing rights and interests and the quota management system and seek a just and honourable solution in conformity with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi; and


the Crown recognises that traditional fisheries are of importance to Maori and that the Crown’s Treaty duty is to develop policies to help recognise use and management practices and provide protection for and scope for exercise of rangatiratanga in respect of traditional fisheries; and


a deed dated 23 September 1992 was entered into between the Crown and Sir Graham Latimer, the Honourable Matiu Rata, Richard Dargaville, Tipene O’Regan, Cletus Maanu Paul, and Whatarangi Winiata, together with other persons who have negotiated with the Crown on behalf of iwi, the New Zealand Maori Council, the National Maori Congress, and other representatives of iwi, whereby it was agreed between the parties that—


Maori would enter into a joint venture with Brierley Investments Limited to acquire Sealord Products Limited, a major fishing company; and


the Crown would pay to Maori a sum of $150 million to be used for the development and involvement of Maori in the New Zealand fishing industry, including participation in the acquisition of Sealord Products Limited; and


the Crown would introduce legislation to ensure that Maori were allocated 20% of all quota for species henceforth brought within the quota management system; and


the Crown would introduce legislation empowering the making of regulations recognising and providing for customary food gathering and the special relationship between the tangata whenua and places of importance for customary food gathering (including tauranga ika and mahinga mataitai), to the extent that such food gathering is not commercial in any way nor involves commercial gain or trade; and


the Crown would introduce legislation to reconstitute the Maori Fisheries Commission as the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission; and


the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission would consider the resolutions in respect of the assets held by the Commission at the settlement date specified in the deed, as adopted by the Annual General Meeting of the Commission on 25 July 1992, and consider how best to give effect to the resolutions, and would be empowered to allocate those assets; and


following consultation with Maori, the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission would devise and report to the Crown on a scheme for the distribution of the Commission’s assets other than those referred to in subparagraph (vi); and


the implementation of the deed through legislation and the continuing relationship between the Crown and Maori would constitute a full and final settlement of all Maori claims to commercial fishing rights and would change the status of non-commercial fishing rights so that they no longer give rise to rights in Maori or obligations on the Crown having legal effect but would continue to be subject to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and give rise to Treaty obligations on the Crown.