Two Far North tribes have welcomed the Government’s Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary despite concerns that they were not initially consulted about the idea.
620,000 square kilometres around the Kermadec Islands, or Rangitāhua, will be zoned off to protect one of the most pristine marine areas of the world.
The ocean sanctuary will be the fifth largest in the world and was launched at Parliament today by Environment Minister, Nick Smith.
He acknowledged the long association that both Ngāti Kurī and Te Aupouri have with Rangitāhua.
“All that understand the history would know the pivotal role that Chief Te Heuheu of Tūwharetoa had in the establishment of that Tongariro National Park.
“And in the same context, I have to acknowledge both Ngāti Kurī and Te Aupouri, who have been standing side by side, the Kermadec initiative partners.”
Te Aupouri chair Rick Witana thanked Mr Smith for involving his iwi in consultation meetings, but admitted that the relationship didn’t start off all that well and that the government initially didn’t involve the iwi.
The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Legislation becomes law on 1 October.