Te Tai Pari: Towards a Sustainable Blue Economy for Te Tairawhiti

Hikurangi Enterprises hosted a two day event for East Coast communities focusing on the sustainable development of the coastal marine area for the benefit of hapū and whānau in Te Tairāwhiti.

The conference was held at the Emerald Hotel in Gisborne on 13 & 14 September 2018.

Presenters include a range of local, national and overseas speakers with expertise in marine science, Māori economic development and indigenous rights.

Conference Context & Purpose

New Zealand is responsible for the fourth largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the world. With the Extended Continental Shelf, our marine estate is more than 20 times the size of our land area. This vast region supports enormous quantities of natural resources, much of which are yet to be explored. Such resources include petroleum, minerals, and renewable energy. Our marine environment also supports a range of other economic sectors, such as tourism, aquaculture, fishing, shipping, communication and recreation. Significant opportunity exists to grow New Zealand’s existing marine economy. The Seafood industry, including aquaculture, currently contributes $1.8B to the economy and generates exports of $1.5B. While the wild fisheries sector is well developed and close to capacity, opportunity exists for value-addition to products, and there is significant potential for growth and diversification in aquaculture with a sector growth target of $1B by 2025. Potential new sectors to the marine economy include the development of high-value nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals and pharmaceuticals from extracts and there is growing interest in the development of tidal energy generation in our coastal waters.

Marine and coastal areas also have significant cultural value. They have been an integral part of the lifestyle and culture of local hapū for a thousand years and continue to be important for food, recreation and spiritual wellbeing. Hapū connections with Tangaroa permeates many aspects of our life on the Coast (cultural, spiritual, practical and economic), and hapū have specific rights as kaiteaki, mana moana and Treaty of Waitangi partners. Within Te Ao Māori there are clear tikanga that highlight the interconnectedness of whānau, hapū and iwi to the sea and coastlines. Hapū and iwi also have significant marine business interests through ownership of fisheries quota and access to marine space for aquaculture, and opportunity exists to grow and diversify these interests. Despite the importance of the seas to hapū, and the obligations enshrined in the Treaty, New Zealand’s current marine governance and management is struggling to incorporate hapū rights and aspirations.

While opportunities exist to create economic opportunities for hapū in Te Tairāwhiti, there are many issues that need addressing including:

  • Concern that local and national governments lack adequate resource management strategies and systems to prevent serious damage to the marine environment.
  • Failure to appropriately acknowledge and accommodate hapū, iwi and community concerns, views and values in resource management and planning decisions.
  • A lack of knowledge of, and trust in, science and how it is used in resource management decisions.
  • Poor understanding of the value of the marine economy to hapū, and the social, cultural and economic value of the use of our marine resources.
  • Disconnect between researchers, investors and hapū interested in the sustainable utilisation of marine resources.
  • Lack of support for ensuring the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples and and the rights of nature in commercial agreements.

Addressing these issues is fundamental to encouraging investment in our marine economy, adding value to our marine resources already in use, and maintaining, protecting and restoring the mauri of the moana. There is an urgent need for a paradigm shift in the way we view, govern and manage the marine estate if it is to achieve a balance between enhanced use of marine resources and good environmental stewardship, while meeting the aspirations and rights of hapū. This shift in marine management will need to merge policy, planning, regulation, science, and mātauranga Māori with societal collaboration, as well as accommodate the plethora of national and international agreements, and relevant legislation and management agencies responsible for our coasts and ocean. The aim of the Te Tai Pari conference is to provide access for whānau and hapu to ideas and information that can contribute to enhancing mana moana while transforming Tairāwhiti into a world-leader in sustainable marine economic development.


Dr Julie Hall – Director, Sustainable Seas Science Challenge (SSSC)
Dr Judi Hewitt – SSSC Programme Leader: Valuable Seas
Linda Faulkner – SSSC Programme Leader: Tangaroa
James Whetu – SSSC Programme Leader: Vision Mātauranga
Agnes Walker – Te Aitanga-a-Mate
Ken Houkamau – Ngati Porou Seafoods Ltd
Dr Matt Miller – Cawthron Institute
Caine Taiapa – Ngati Taka
Dr Drew Lohrer – NIWA
Prof Christopher Battershill – University of Waikato
Dr Simon Hills – Massey University
Jason Mika – Massey University
Tracey Whare – University of Auckland & Aotearoa Indigenous Rights Trust

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