Some members of Far North iwi Ngāti Kahu say they plan on putting a stop to Doubtless Bay’s annual Anniversary Fishing Contest and plans to block off all boat ramps in their “tribal waters”.
The fishing competition, which is also referred to as the Fishing Classic, has been running for more than 40 years in the area and is expected to have around 500 competitors. The event is scheduled for the 27th and 28th with a prize pool totalling $30,000. Fish are auctioned off with all profits going to the local community.
Some members of Ngāti Kahu took to social media overnight posting a picture of the fishing competition signage with a red cross through the flyer. Underneath it says “Ngāti Kahu holds ultimate authority over our tribal territories from the Rangaunu Harbour across to Tokerau moana, the whole of Doubtless Bay.
“We are upholding our Ngāti Kahu Tikanga/Customs to protect our environment, resources and our food source. Fish stock have decreased dramatically in the last 10 years. This is caused from over fishing,” the post said.
It said there’s also been no consultation at all between the organisers of this event and Ngāti Kahu.
The post goes on to say the stance is also in response to the government’s proposal “to abolish Te Tiriti o Waitangi”.
“We never ceded sovereignty. We have been patient for 183 years.”
Other iwi leaders say the action doesn’t have backing from Ngāti Kahu as a whole, and that it hasn’t yet been discussed at marae.
The fishing comp organiser Nick Ryan says the fishing competition will go ahead and he has confirmed with police that iwi can’t block public access.
Far North Area Commander Riki Whiu said police had planned on monitoring the event.
“We are now aware of discussions around the event and Police will be engaging with event organisers and making enquiries with those who have expressed concerns, as well as with the local iwi in relation to this.
“Our Far North staff will be monitoring the event and will respond to any issues as required.”