Understanding Maori Rights And Interests in Fresh Water
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Te Wai Maori Trust has created an online fresh water information resource for anyone wanting to understand the
discussion over Maori rights and interests in fresh water.
The trust, which was established by legislation through a nationwide agreement on fisheries, represents the interests of
iwi and Maori in issues relating to freshwater fisheries and waterways.
Trust chair Ken Mair said there was huge interest from iwi organisations and individuals in the public discussion over
Maori interests to fresh water and how it was affecting the sale of State-owned power generators presently.
He said the trust had a role in ensuring that iwi and individual Maori and non-Maori were well-informed on issues around
fresh water, the reasons behind the Waitangi Tribunal claim and exactly what was at stake.
“It is important to us as trustees that people are well-informed on what Maori are seeking and so that we can all have a
mature discussion on the nature of Maori rights to fresh water,” Mr Mair said. “It is the view among most iwi in
Aotearoa that Maori have rights and interests in fresh water. These include not only rights in respect of management,
but also use and development rights.”
The online fresh water information can be found at www.waimaori.maori.nz/freshwater
Mr Mair said that further additions to the information will occur regularly and will be added to the page as they become
available, including an analysis of the Waitangi Tribunal’s Interim Report on the National Freshwater and Geothermal
Resources Claims (Wai2358).
Te Wai Maori Trust was established in 2004 through the Maori Fisheries Act to support and promote iwi management of
freshwater fisheries, notably in relation to customary commercial and customary non-commercial freshwater fisheries. The
Trust also has a statutory role in promoting the protection and enhancement of freshwater fisheries habitats (lakes,
rivers, and other water bodies), particularly those that have traditionally supported iwi and whose shores have been the
location of their marae.