Published on 7 January 2005
Translations available in: français . Español .

The Treaty of Waitangi and the Foreshore and Seabed

Over the past year the ‘ownership’ of the Foreshore and Seabed has taken the dimensions of a tidal wave crashing on the shores of Aotearoa-New Zealand, and put relations between Maori and government under more pressure than they have been for a century.

Under the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi indigenous titles to land were to be upheld. By 2003 the Foreshore is the last remaining area still in indigenous title, although the general population remained largely oblivious. Some particular circumstances emerged of years of denial of fishing allocations to Maori, so a legal process brought the ownership of the Foreshore to public notice. The government stepped in to assert ownership. In July there was a great ‘Hikoi’ with 23,000 Maori and others who supported them walking from all over New Zealand and converging on parliament – to be ignored!

We regard this as a crisis and as part of our Responsibility called a special national meeting of Treaty people to strategise in support of Maori. Subsequently I undertook the 7 day fast as a lament for the Foreshore and to support Maori entitlements.


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