Environment group wants government force added to rāhui

By Mare Haimona-Riki

Note: Photo above was taken prior to the Level 4 lock-down. Source/Mauro o Te Moana Facebook page

New environmental group, Mauri o Te Moana, which focuses on the health of Aotearoa’s ocean life, has demanded the government halt the exploitation and destruction of ocean waters and give Māori more authority over water.

Iwi chairs forum climate spokesperson Mike Smith says that this is the first time that there has been a Ministry for the Wellbeing of the Ocean and it's only recently been set up.

“So we’ll be expecting that the government is going to put some resources into that and to beef up its conformance and compliance abilities.

“But what we really wanna see is speed and scale. We haven’t got time to muck around.”

A hikoi on the streets of Auckland CBD earlier this year. Source/Mauri o Te Moana Facebook page 

Mauri o Te Moana has sent a clear message to Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker about the changes it wants to see.

In a post calling for 300 signatures on the petition, the group says: “We are calling on you, David Parker, as the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries to show leadership in giving effect to the tikanga rāhui placed by hapū and iwi of Ngāti Hei, Ngāti Pāoa and Ngāti Kāhu ki Whangaroa by gazetting the provisions of s186A of the Fisheries Act by expediting these applications to stop the degradation and loss of taonga species in these rohe moana.”

Smith says a virtual hui last night highlighting the challenges tangata whenua are facing in the coastal marine environment discussed the collapse of ocean species and actions that can be taken to mitigate some of these issues.

“Our oceans are in serious trouble. We are seeing things like fishing of seamounts, mining activities for rare metals,” he says.

Smith claims an immense amount of support from the public for this kaupapa.

“There’s been a huge groundswell of support from local communities from hapū, iwi, and Pākehā communities.”