New Zealand’s fisheries are perhaps best known for the individual transferable quota (ITQ) system brought about
by the Fisheries Amendment Act 1986. There is general recognition that the ITQ system has improved the biological status of
fisheries resources and commercial returns. The 1986 Act allocated quota to fishing firms and individuals that met the
allocation criteria. Part-time fishers, many of whom were Maori, New Zealand’s indigenous people, were excluded from the
initial allocation. The 1986 Act did not address claims by Maori of having indigenous rights guaranteed by the Treaty of
Waitangi 1840. The English-language version of the Treaty of 1840 is recognised by the Crown as the founding document of
New Zealand as a nation. Maori widely accept another version in Maori language, Te Tiriti o Waitangi. A key term in the
Maori-language version is kawanatanga, the right of iwi (large kinship group) to self-government in their particular region.
Kawanatanga was offered by Maori in return for the Crown providing several guarantees, one of which was Maori rights to
fisheries resources. Since the Treaty, Maori have protested against government actions and legislation that have eroded their
rights guaranteed by the Treaty. The implementation of the 1986 Act prompted further Treaty-based claims to large areas of
fisheries, and the ITQ system was used to settle several claims. This paper explores Maori views on resource use and claims
to fisheries resources, legislative changes enacted to settle Maori fisheries claims, and claims that remain outstanding. The
insights of this paper have relevance to the broader discussion on indigenous perspectives.
Bess, R. New Zealand Maori Claims to Fisheries Resources. In: Microbehavior and Macroresults:Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute ofFisheries Economics and Trade, July 10-14, 2000, Corvallis, Oregon, USA.Compiled by Richard S. Johnston and Ann L. Shriver. InternationalInstitute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Corvallis, 2001.