Public information sought for East Coast customary marine title enquiry

  • Christopher Finlayson
Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations

The Office of Treaty Settlements is seeking information from the public on their use of parts of the common marine and coastal area (CMCA) on the East Coast, to assist with an enquiry into the existence of customary marine title under the Marine and Coastal Area Act, Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson said today.

The Office is collecting information from the recreational users, commercial operators and the general public, and public records of occupancy and use back to 1840. Te Runanganui O Ngāti Porou is also gathering  information about its members’ traditional use of the coastal and marine area.

The information will be used by the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations in determining whether or not ngā hapū o Ngāti Porou meet the tests for customary marine title in any parts of the East Coast common marine and coastal area under the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011.

The Marine and Coastal Area Act sets out a process for determining customary marine title. Customary marine title recognises rights and interests which have existed since 1840 in parts of the marine and coastal area, and does not affect public  access, fishing or navigation.

It is a factual enquiry, and is not a negotiation between the Crown and iwi.

The Minister has appointed former High Court Judge, Dame Justice Judith Potter, as an Independent Assessor. The Independent Assessor will provide a non-binding, independent, expert view as to whether the Crown may be satisfied the applicant group meets the requirements in the Act based on the evidence provided to her.

Under the Act, the Minister makes a determination on whether customary marine title or protected customary rights exist in an application area based on whether the evidence demonstrates an applicant group meets the tests laid out in the Act.

The Office of Treaty Settlements would like to hear from members of the public who use any parts of the common marine and coastal area along the East Coast from Potikirua (West of Lottin Point) to the Pouawa Stream, out to three nautical miles offshore.

There will be up to two open days in Gisborne to discuss the enquiry:

Monday 10 June, 12-7pm at the Emerald Hotel; and

Monday 24 June (subject to demand), 12-7pm at the Emerald Hotel.

For more information go to



The Crown and the hapū of Ngāti Porou (ngā hapū o Ngāti Porou) first engaged on Ngāti Porou’s foreshore interests in 2003, before the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 was passed.

The Ngāti Porou foreshore deed was signed by the Crown and Ngāti Porou in 2008, while the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 was in force. 

The deed was put on hold while the Foreshore and Seabed Act was reviewed and then replaced by the Marine and Coastal Area Act in 2011. The deed is now being updated to reflect the requirements of the Marine and Coastal Area Act.

Where to get information

Information packs, including a fact sheet, submission form and FAQs are available on the Ministry of Justice website ( or at the following locations in Gisborne:

  • Gisborne District Council
  • Gisborne Library
  • Gisborne Te Puni Kōkiri Office
  • Gisborne Citizen’s Advice Bureau
  • Tairawhiti Museum
  • Gisborne Chamber of Commerce
  • Gisborne headquarters of Te Runanganui o Ngāti Porou