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Protecting Māori interests in the Takutai Moana

By Jerome Burgess - July 2017

The Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 acknowledges the importance of the marine and coastal area to all New Zealanders and provides for the recognition of the customary rights of iwi, hapū and whānau in the common marine and coastal area.  Public access to the common marine and coastal area is guaranteed by the Act.

The marine and coastal area is the area between the mean high water springs and the outer limits of the territorial sea - 12 nautical miles from shore.  The common marine and coastal areas are the parts of the marine and coastal area that aren’t in private ownership or part of a conservation area.

The due date for filing applications to the High Court seeking an order recognising customary interests, or to file an application to the Crown for direct engagement was 3 April 2017.  Over 380 applications were made under the Act.  We set out below a brief summary and update of the process to date.

High Court

For the High Court process:

  • Public notices of the applications were due 20 working days after filing an application;
  • Anyone who may be affected by an application was able to file a notice of appearance within 20 working days of those notices being filed; and
  • The Attorney-General has proposed a grouped approach to the Court for dealing with the High Court applications based on specific areas of the coastline.

Crown Engagement

For the Crown engagement process, we understand that the Crown is currently processing the applications received.  No set timeframes for managing these applications and commencing engagement have been confirmed by the Crown.

Information regarding both processes in general is available on the Ministry of Justice website at https://www.justice.govt.nz/maori-land-treaty/marine-and-coastal-area/

Our Team has experience with direct engagement and negotiations with the Crown, and High Court matters.

Aidan Warren is a Director in our Māori Legal Team, specialising in Māori Legal Issues, and can be contacted on 07 958 7426.

Leone Farquhar is an Associate in our Māori Legal Team and can be contacted on 07 958 7457 if you require assistance with either process or have any pātai.