23 Apr 2010

Hauraki Maori support repeal of foreshore legislation

7:14 pm on 23 April 2010

Hauraki Maori say they support the repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed Act but have warned the Government its replacement will be scrutinised closely.

Attorney-General Chris Finlayson is attending a nationwide series of meetings seeking feedback on plans to review the 2004 legislation.

The Government is negotiating with Maori leaders about what might replace the contentious act, which focuses on the ownership and administration of New Zealand's foreshore and seabed.

Under the Government's proposal, the current law would be repealed, bringing to an end Crown ownership. Instead, the foreshore and seabed would become public domain land, administered by a combination of the Crown, local authorities and iwi.

Maori interests could be established either by direct negotiations with the Crown or through the courts.

The Government's 10th consultation hui was held at Paiohauraki Marae, near Paeroa, on Friday.

The chairman of the Hauraki Maori Trust Board, Toko Renata says his iwi believes Maori own the foreshore and seabed, and any change to the law needs to recognise Maori culture and the Treaty of Waitangi.

"We've never denied people access to the foreshore. I'm open-minded - I hope we can resolve something there for the benefit of not only the Hauraki people, but also the Pakeha people too."

Mr Renata returned his Queen's Service Medal to the Government in 2003 as a protest over foreshore and seabed legislation.

The final hui will be held at Omapare in Hokianga on Sunday.