Commercial fishing ban extended over most of Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō 

Oceans and Fisheries

Commerical fishing will be banned across most of Lyttelton Harbour as part of the extension of the Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō Mātaitai Reserve, Oceans and Fisheries Minister Rachel Brooking announced today.

Mātaitai reserves recognise traditional Māori fishing grounds that are important for customary food gathering,” Rachel Brooking said at Rapaki Marae, where she was joined by Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene.

Just over 30 square km of the harbour was already covered by two mātaitai. This increase, of 11.1 square km, was requested by Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke (Rāpaki), one of four Ngāi Tahu Papatipu Rūnanga on Banks Peninsula.

The extension means the whole harbour except the Port of Lyttelton will be covered by mātaitai. All commercial fishing in the mātaitai area will be banned, and guardians appointed by the rūnanga will have the ability to put bylaws in place to manage recreational fishing.

“After substantial public consultation and feedback from the local community and fishing interests, I was happy to approve the extension to further protect the historic customary fishing rights of Ngāti Wheke,” Rachel Brooking said.

“It means the fisheries in the harbour are being managed as a whole, by local people.”

“The three mātaitai reserves in the harbour together prohibit commercial fishing from an area of about 42km2.

 “Ngāti Wheke have traditionally taken pāua, kina, kutai (mussels), kōura (crayfish), as well as hāpuku (groper), moki, mārari (butterfish), rawaru (blue cod), hoka (red cod) and pioke (rig) from these mahinga kai (traditional fishing grounds).    

 “The pioke (rig) fishery is of particular significance to Ngāti Wheke hapū as a source of kaimoana to fulfil the hapū obligation of manaakitanga (hospitality) to manuhiri (guests),” Rachel Brooking said.  

 Commercial fishers who catch fish outside the area will still be able to transport their catch through the reserve and land it at Lyttleton Port.

 There are currently 66 mātaitai in place in New Zealand, including eight other new reserves in the South Island.

  •  The Mikonui Mātaitai Reserve extends from near the mouth of the Mikonui River in the south, to the end of Ross Beach Road in the north, and offshore 0.5 km. (West Coast)
  • The Paringa Mātaitai Reserve is a coastal strip approximately 1km wide, between Knights Point and Buttress Point. Hanata Island and the Abbey Rocks are inside the Mātaitai Reserve.  (West Coast)
  • The Popotai Taumaka Mātaitai Reserve surrounds the Open Bay Islands out to 1km. The Bignell Reef is inside the Mātaitai Reserve. (West Coast)
  • The Ōkahu Mātaitai Reserve is between Homminy Point and Neil’s Beach, and includes Smoothwater Bay and Jackson Bay/Okahu. (West Coast)
  • The Tauneke Mātaitai Reserve extends from Big Cascade Creek to Watson Bluff. The Barn Islands and The Sugar Loaf are inside the Mātaitai Reserve. (West Coast)
  • The Ōmāui Mātaitai Reserve includes the Mokomoko Inlet and then extends westwards then southwards around the Ōmāui coastline to Cable Bay. The reserve extends offshore 0.5 nm. (Southland)
  • The Ōtara Mātaitai Reserve extends from 350 metres north of the Tokanui River mouth to 475 metres east of Waipapa Point. The reserve extends offshore 0.5 nm. (Southland)
  • The Tautuku Mātaitai Reserve includes the lower reaches of the Tautuku and Fleming Rivers, extending upstream to the Chaslands Highway. (Otago)