Iwi as resource managers

Iwi/Māori are estimated to own approximately 50 per cent of fisheries quota through iwi, Aotearoa Fisheries Limited and other companies. Three iwi/Māori owned (or part-owned) companies are among the five largest fishing companies in the country; Aotearoa Fisheries Limited, 4790  Sealord Group Limited (50 per cent Māori ownership through Aotearoa Fisheries Limited) and Ngāi Tahu Fisheries Settlement Limited (100 per cent Ngāi Tahu-owned). 2608  Māori have increased their stake in the New Zealand fishing industry from approximately 10 per cent, when the Sealords deal was legislated in 1992, to close to 20 per cent today. Assets and operations are both with the national organisation, Te Ohu Kai Moana, and with iwi around the country. There are 57 iwi or groups of iwi 2609  recognised in the Māori Fisheries Act 2004. Commercial fisheries held centrally by Te Ohu Kai Moana are being gradually transferred to those iwi.

Separate aquaculture settlement legislation (Māori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004) requires 20 per cent of marine farm space created since 1992 to be allocated to iwi. The 2011 aquaculture law reforms provide for ‘the 20% obligation’ to be delivered through regional agreements which may include space, cash, or anything else that is agreed. Māori have been estimated to own up to 50 per cent of the aquaculture industry. This proportion is likely to increase over time.

57 iwi groups collectively maintain the largest single commercial interest in the country’s fisheries, and own around half of the aquaculture industry, and this creates significant opportunities for the exercise of kaitiakitanga in the marine environment.

  1. Inns J, 2013, 'Māori in the seafood sector (fisheries and aquaculture) - the year in review' Māori Law Review, June

  2. Some groups of iwi – such as the 12 Hauraki iwi, or the 11 Te Arawa Waka iwi – have a single entity to represent them identified in statute.

  3. Lucy Brake and Raewyn Peart (2015) Sustainable Seas: Managing the marine environment at 81. 

Last updated at 5:10PM on February 8, 2018