Te Runanga o Waihao in Waimate says the establishment of a mataitai reserve in their area is a relief, as their main food source has been depleted.
Five new mataitai reserves have been formed, giving Maori in those areas customary rights to access and gather food from the waterways.
One of the new reserves is near Waimate. It includes the Wainono Lagoon, and all parts of the Waihao River, the Waituna Stream and the Hook River east of State Highway One.
Te Runanga o Waihao native fish representative Pauline Reid says she's relieved the food source is now protected, as it will benefit both customary and recreational fishing, and the entire community.
She says it's the only mataitai reserve in the area and has taken five years to establish.
Three of the other new reserves are on the Mahia Peninsula, on the North Island's east coast. The other is near Franz Josef.
Reserve status does not prevent recreational fishing or public access to beaches, rivers or reserves, but it does prohibit commercial fishing.