Te Ohu Kai Moana Trust and Te Ohu Kai Moana Trustee Limited were created ultimately out of the Māori Fisheries Settlement 1992 between Māori and the Crown. Te Ohu Kaimoana is the successor to the Māori Fisheries Commission (1989 – 1992) and the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission (1992 – 2004).
Te Ohu Kaimoana was established to advance the interests of Māori in fishing and fisheries-related activities and to return valuable fisheries assets and funds from the Settlement to iwi organisations. The Trust is managed by a corporate trustee, Te Ohu Kai Moana Trustee Limited which is central to administering, protecting and enhancing the Fisheries Settlement to ensure that funds are delivered to iwi and ultimately all Māori.
The Settlement restored Māori property rights and established commercial enterprises, such Aotearoa Fisheries Limited (trading as Moana New Zealand), which in turn is the sole or joint shareholder of a number of New Zealand commercial fishing companies. Through Te Ohu Kaimoana and various Iwi charitable organisations, the fisheries settlement has contributed to the establishment of a sustainable development system for the delivery of economic and social benefits to all Māori. Iwi and Māori have become empowered to develop their own fishing enterprises and activities, as well as contribute to improving the health, welfare and education of communities in their own rohe now and in the future.
Te Ohu Kaimoana has a further role of advocating on behalf of Māori in respect of fisheries matters and the marine environment.