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Maori shut out of conservation discussion
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The General Manager of the 14-strong Iwi Collective Partnership says indigenous voices are being shut out of a forum that looks set to demand that countries shut off 30 percent of their exclusive economic zones to commercial fishing.

Maru Samuels is in Hawaii observing the annual International Union for Conservation of Nature conference on behalf of the Iwi Collective Partnership, which manages the fisheries interests of 14 iwi.

Those iwi own 31 percent of the quota around the Kermadecs, which will be extinguished by the proposed ocean sanctuary.

Mr Samuels says there will be more such confiscations if the IUCN proposal is adopted.

He says while the IUCN includes both government and non-government organisations, the Iwi Collective Partnership and Te Ohu Kaimoana were told they can’t join because they don’t have a purely conservation focus.

"Conservation is critical but we also sit that alongside social issues, alongside health issues, alongside our massive suicide issues. The funding from our commercial fisheries is channeled directly to our iwi and down to our communities. They are saying 'you can't support those things, you can't be about making money for those purposes, you can only be about conservation, shutting people out, that's it.' If you are not about that, you are not welcome here," Mr Samuels says.

He says Maori fought hard to regain their fishing rights, and it’s disappointing a generation later the crown turns around and takes them away again.

MARU SAMUELS INTERVIEW


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