Monday 2 February 2009


We southern natives have a comprehensive set of rules and regs that protect our harvesting rights to take muttonbirds.
This story was first broken by TVNZ. Now the Southland Times has gone digging

A simplification is that a bunch of chiefs did a deal with the government to sell of Stewart Island and most of the surrounding islands. They kept a few muttonbird islands for their relatives. They are known as Beneficial Islands. Their descendants were effectively given a property right. While they were doing the deal, many others were actually on the islands catching birds - so they came back to find in many of the islands they had traditionally birded had literally been sold without their knowledge. Those people petitioned the government who saw the injustice and allowed the birders to use the wrongly sold islands in perpetuity. They are known as the Crown Islands. Then when Ngai Tahu completed its treaty settlement deal with the government , a core part of the settlement was the return of the Crown Islands. Once both sets of the islands were administered under one body - now there are two.

Family feuds and arguments over rights to the beneficial islands have festered for generations.
Whakapapa must be proved and it appears now that there are some issues over just who is descended from whom.

This issue is not small, it affects about 100 families who guard their rights with passion.
It is to be hoped that wise and benevolent heads of the new leaders of Rakiura Maori can chart a way through what will be be some very stormy waters.

Kia Kaha cousins.

No comments: