Our feedback on the South East Marine Protected Areas

6 August 2020









On 3 August, we provided our feedback to the Department of Conservation and Fisheries New Zealand on the proposed South East Marine Protected Areas (SEMPA). Given that this proposal is about establishing a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in Ngai Tahu’s rohe moanawe have been working with them on this response. 

 The consultation document identifies several pressures facing the marine environment that are causing a decline in marine biodiversity, including “activities on land and in the sea and climate change”. The starting point for any discussion about the management of environmental pressures in the marine environment should begin by identifying the tools needed to manage them, and lastly, any gaps that may need to be addressed.  

From our perspective, the key question is: “how do we better protect the marine environment from different pressures, so we can continue to access our fisheries resources in a way that protects our relationship with Tangaroa?” A network of MPAs will not address land-based pressures, nor will it provide resilience against climate change but it will impact Ngai Tahu’s enduring relationship with Tangaroa. The proposal as it stands also undermines the future use of customary tools such as mātaitai 

 Key issues Ngāi Tahu has raised in response to the consultation document include the need for:  

  • co-management of the proposed MPAs between NgāiTahu and the Crown  
  • regular review to determine that the proposed network is an appropriate tool for management 
  • generational review of the proposed MPA network 
  • ensuring Ngāi Tahu rangers to manage the network of MPAs. 

These issues highlight the importance to Ngāi Tahu of retaining their rangatiratanga over their rohe moana. 

 For further details, read the full response here