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Ed Sheeran

Ngāti Kuri wants new model for Kermadec sanctuary

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The chair of northernmost iwi Ngāti Kuri says new thinking is needed to resolve a stand off over creating a giant marine reserve around the Kermadec Islands.

Former Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson has criticised his former National colleagues for announcing the plan to create the ocean sanctuary without proper consultation or consideration of Māori rights and interests.

While Ngāti Kuri acknowledges as having mana whenua over the Kermadecs because it has the most recent historical associations, under the Māori Fisheries Settlement all iwi have development rights in the waters around the islands, known as fisheries management area 10.

Harry Burkhardt says by trying to impose a complete ban on fishing on such a large part of New Zealand's Exclusive Econmic Zone, National ignored Māori philosophies of conservation and resource use.

"We need to be thinking about what are those spaces where we fish in a different way that reflects our fishing whakapapa as Māori and have a space in the global mind that we think differently, that for me is the new opportunity," he says.

Mr Burkhardt says no one is currently FMA 10 because it's not economic for the New Zealand fleet, so there is plenty of time to reach a solution.

Ngāti Kuri sees the Kermadecs as a puna ora with the ability to heal the wider ocean.

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