Court clarifies Kahungunu coastal rights


The High Court further clarified what can be expected from the Marine and Coastal Area Act (Takutai Moana) in its latest finding regarding the north coast of Hawke Bay.

When the law was introduced to replace the Marine and Foreshore Act, the national government of the day said this likely meant customary title would only be recognized on about 3 percent of the coastline.

In four decisions so far, the court has gone far beyond, with the latest judgment covering parts of the coast just south of Wairoa to a point seven miles south of the entrance to Napier Harbor .

He said that each of the four candidate groups – Ngāti Pāhauwera, the Maungaharuru-TangitÅ« Trust, Napier’s Ngāti Parau and Ngāi Tahu o Mōhaka-Waikare – had resided in the region for hundreds of years and were deeply interconnected through whakapapa. , but with their own distinct identities.

Ngati Pāhauwera failed his long-standing claim to customary rights at the mouth of the Mōkau River in what the court said was an unfair outcome, as the area was navigable and therefore vested in the Crown under coal mines.

He said the wāhi tapu conditions can be used in limited circumstances to temporarily exclude third parties and members of the public through the implementation of rāhui, as long as it complies with tikanga.

In some areas, a joint title will be awarded, provided that each applying party recognizes that its interest is shared.

A hearing in May 2022 will set the exact boundaries of areas subject to customary marine title and the form of customary rights orders protected for activities such as stone, sand, shell and driftwood collection, non-commercial fishing. to the bait and exercise of kaitiakitanga practices. .


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