Feedback sought from Iwi on Māori Commercial Fisheries structure

By Maiki Sherman

A nation-wide hui will be held next month allowing iwi to give feedback on changes to the Māori Commercial Fisheries (MCF) structure.

The working group has only just finalised the process to reach an agreement amongst iwi, following the recently-released report which reviewed the MCF structure.

Jamie Tuuta is chair of the committee, tasked with analysing this report and explaining it to other iwi.

Tuuta says, “The focus is on identifying the benefits and the difficulties of the recommendations.  Why?   So that our people are aware of the benefits and also the risks and consequences that could come from these recommendations.”

The governance structure is the main focus and there's one major recommendation.

Presently, iwi appoint members to Te Kāwai Taumata (TKT) who in turn appoint those on Te Ohu Kaimoana (TOKM).  TOKM then appoints those on Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd (AFL), the business and activity of commercial fishing.

The recommendation of the review is to get rid of TKT and TOKM, allowing iwi to work more closely with their operations in the sector.

Tuuta says, “I believe there is a place for an iwi group to carry out the work for iwi across the country.”

Jamie Tuuta is among those who agree it's time iwi were given more control over the reins.

He says, “I believe the benefits are there to be able to bring our iwi together in the economic sense and the purpose of what we want.  But it's not just up to Jamie Tuuta, it's for iwi to decide”

The nine members appointed to the working group are tasked with gathering iwi thoughts.

Following that, their findings will be presented to TOKM who will then finalise its plan.

Iwi will then vote on the recommendations.

Tuuta says, “Iwi need to get involved with this, it's very important.  We also need to remember we are doing this for our future generations.”

The special meeting will be held on June 4.