Management Tools

Mātaitai reserves

Mātaitai reserves can be declared under the Fisheries (Kaimoana Customary Fishing) Regulations 1998 or the Fisheries (South Island Customary Fishing) Regulations 1999 on application by tangata whenua. These are areas which are recognised traditional fishing grounds, with which tangata whenua have a special relationship. The reserve is managed by tangata tiaki/kaitiaki chosen by the tangata whenua. The tangata tiaki/kaitiaki can restrict or prohibit fishing in the mātaitai reserve by recommending bylaws. Although the bylaws apply to any person fishing in the area, fishing for the purposes of sustaining the functions of a marae may continue if authorised by the tangata tiaki/kaitiaki.

There is a clear process for establishing mātaitai, with an application being lodged by the tangata whenua or tangata tiaki/kaitiaki (who has been confirmed by the Minister) with the Ministry for Primary Industries. Before approving the application, the Minister must be satisfied that a special relationship exists between the tangata whenua and the proposed reserve, that the general management aims are consistent with the sustainable use of fisheries resources in the area, and that the area is an identified traditional fishing ground and is of a size which can be effectively managed by tangata whenua. In addition, the Minister must also be satisfied that the reserve will not unreasonably affect the ability of the local community to take fish for non-commercial purposes or prevent persons taking their quota or annual catch entitlement within the QMA for that species.

Once a mātaitai reserve is established, commercial fishing is not allowed unless it is re-instated by regulation. The regulations must be recommended by the tangata tiaki/kaitiaki and apply to specified species, restricted by quantity or time period. Māori and non-Māori may fish in mātaitai reserves. 

The Kaikōura (Te Tai o Marokura) Marine Management Act 2014 puts in place management measures for the Kaikōura marine environment including a marine reserve, whale and New Zealand fur seal sanctuaries, five customary fisheries areas, an advisory committee and fishing regulations.  The three mātaitai and two taiāpure reserves are open to recreational fishing, though may be subject to special rules as determined by their governing committees. The Act establishes the Kaikoura Marine Guardians. The Minister of Conservation and the Minister of Primary Industries may appoint and remove members and may disestablish the Kaikoura Marine Guardians. The Guardians may provide advice on any biosecurity, conservation or fisheries matter related to the Te Whata Kai o Rakihouia i Te Tai o Marokura—Kaikōura Marine Area to biosecurity, conservation and fisheries Ministers. The Ministers are required to take the Guardians’ advice into account. (Sections 6 and 7)

Closure of areas and taiāpure

Part 9 of the Fisheries Act also creates opportunities for the practical application of kaitiakitanga through the establishment of taiāpure and the temporary closure of fishing areas. These recognise and make provision for the use and management practices of tangata whenua.

The purpose of taiāpure is to make better provision for the recognition of estuarine or littoral coastal waters that have customarily been of special significance to iwi or hapū either as a source of food or for spiritual or cultural reasons. A management committee representative of the local Māori community, is appointed by the Minister for Primary Industries, and it advises the Ministry for Primary Industries on regulations to manage the area. These may include restrictions on the species and quantities that may be harvested, size limits, when fish may be taken, the fishing methods that can be used, and the areas from which species may be taken. Unlike in a mātaitai reserve, taiāpure allow commercial fishing. 

Last updated at 2:11PM on February 25, 2015