Ngāti Wai erects pou to assert tribal fishing rights

By Dean Nathan

Ngāti Wai has erected a carved post at Mimiwhangata in opposition to the government's move to re-designate fishing reserves in its tribal territory.

The people of Ngāti Wai have erected a post representing their principal ancestor, Manaia, at Mimiwhangata.

“We want to maintain our traditional control and the sanctity of the fishing grounds and coastal areas in our territory,” says Aperahama Edwards, “Ngāti Wai is a seafaring people.”

This post represents the re-establishment of the traditional control of tribal territory by uniting the respective families and clans.

“The post is named after our principal ancestor, Manaia, as a way of remembering him and binding all the peoples of Ngāti Wai,” says Edwards.

It's an act of vigilance by Ngāti Wai who are concerned for the future of their lands and the marine reserve at Mimiwhangata.

They say they've had enough of government controls over fishing grounds and coastal sites in their territory.

“This is a unified Ngāti Wai challenging Crown controls over our traditional fishing grounds and coastal sites with our own authority and hereditary rights to control and manage our territory,” says Edwards.