We have been very busy publicising the issue by contacting as many people as possible to alert them to the 26 February deadline to register as an interested party in the claims, and advising how to go about doing so. Over December/January over 400 organisations were contacted. This was followed up by a Facebook campaign, which included a video with links to a landing page on our updated website. This was launched on Friday 9th February, running for just over two weeks, and resulted in 10,700 visits to our website. We also sent a link to the video and website to all those on our mailing list. Our members have also been busy informing friends, family and other contacts, drawing their attention to the video and webpage.
Filing Notices of Appearance
The Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of New Zealand (CORANZ) has now registered as an interested party in all the claims. Several of our members have also filed Notices, as individuals and/or family groups.
Although the deadline has now passed to register your interest with the High Court, you are still able to become involved by registering with organizations such as CORANZ and the New Zealand Centre for Political Research, (NZCPR), see here.
Evidence of Use
Under section 58 of the Act, claimants must furnish evidence that not only have they used and occupied the area from 1840 to the present day without any substantial interruption, but that their use has been exclusive. Therefore, to counter the claims, we are urging everyone to gather and keep a file of any evidence of use by the public, businesses, local government, recreational clubs etc. in areas under claim, (e.g. photos, newspaper reports, council documents etc.), with the view to sharing this information with others when the time comes to disprove the exclusive use criteria.
Considering the 202 claims filed with the High Court, and the 380 claims registered to be dealt with through direct engagement with the Crown, the whole fiasco will likely take years to sort out and cost the country many millions of dollars.
Liaising with other interested parties
We are planning a register of those of our members and supporters who have filed Notices of Appearance, with a view to sharing information among the group. If you would like to add your name to this list, and don’t mind sharing your details with others, send us your contact details along with the High Court registration number of the claim/s on which you have filed notices.
As mentioned in the February edition of our newsletter, there is a great deal of concern about Christopher Finlayson's determination regarding Ngati Pahauwera. Finlayson has offered customary title to an area of the coast despite evidence of use by others, thereby lowering the ‘exclusive use and occupation without substantial interruption’ threshold. Finlayson’s letter of determination, and a report by an independent assessor, are available here and here.
Resource Management permission right already in force
Under the Marine and Coastal Area Act, the holders of Customary Marine Title have the right to say yes or no to activities that need resource consents or permits in ‘their’ area, (sections 66 & 68). Anyone applying for resource consent in the common marine and coastal area must notify and seek the views of any group that has applied for recognition of customary marine title in the area. This requirement applies from the date the application for recognition of customary rights is lodged, even though the claim may eventually be declined.
Kawau Islanders are not happy!
When they apply to renew resource consents for their jetties, the people of Kawau Island, whose only access to their properties is by sea, are discovering they now must find and notify any claimants - estimated to be seven separate entities by Kawau Islander and Kookaburra magazine editor Michael Marris. See Stuff article here.
See further information on our Marine and Coastal Area Act campaign