Protesters failed to stop a Northland fishing competition from going ahead in Doubtless Bay today, but some members of a local iwi hope their stance serves as a warning for future events.
Earlier this week, some members of Ngāti Kahu went public with plans to stop the Doubtless Bay Fishing Classic, which has run for over 40 years.
However today, their was only a sole blockade at the Taipa boat ramp, where only one fisherman – claiming to be Ngāti Kahu – failed to pass through.
Several others also approached the protesters, but soon turned around.
Many competitors instead headed to other Doubtless Bay spots such as Perehipe Beach, where local hapu took a softer approach.
Ngāti Kahu member Caroline Snowden told 1News the hapu were embracing a “slightly different kaupapa” by educating people on preserving fish stocks.
“So basically in the future we will be working on ceasing all fishing competitions, but we are also here to say ‘have a good day out on the water’,” she explained.
Wikatana Popata of Ngāti Kahu told 1News all of his whanaunga (relatives) from up north are supporting the initiative, which could have a flow on effect.
“They’ve been feeling this way for a while now with all the fishing competitions, the jet skis the torpedo [competitions], even the snapper bonanza,” he said.
The competition’s organiser Nick Ryan was adamant to not let the event be cancelled by the protests.
“We can’t get into a situation where we can’t have a tournament because one minor group dictate otherwise,” he said.
In total, 2050 competitors weighed in 400 crayfish and fish, with profits going to the local community.
The largest snapper was caught by a local man fishing from the rocks, weighing in at 11.8kg.
A hearty catch, however one that some argue should have stayed in the water.