From Anakoha to New York : the genesis of the Foreshore and Seabed Claim and the marginalisation of Ngati Kuia : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in History at Massey University
This study operates at three levels reflecting the title of the thesis. It deals with Ngati Kuia’s connection to the Foreshore and Seabed Claim (Wai 1071) and to this extent it focuses mainly on the years 1997-1998. At this time Ngati Kuia became involved in a series of Environmental Court cases that related to marine farming in the Marlborough Sounds. Anakoha , heard in Blenheim from 28 April to 1 May, was the first of these hearings and began a process of litigation that ended in the New Zealand Court of Appeal. The Crown’s response to the Court’s decision was the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004. The Crown proposals that preceded the Act invoked a damning report from the Waitangi Tribunal, the resignation of Tariana Turia from the Labour Party, the formation of the Maori Party and a hikoi protesting the proposed legislation. It also prompted Maori to seek urgent intervention from the United Nations who recently released their report.
Anakoha is a large bay near the entrance of Te Hoiere—Pelorus Sound—the traditional homeland of Ngati Kuia. Te Hoiere was the name given to the area by the ancestor Matuahautere in commemoration of his waka. According to tradition, Matuahautere was guided into the sound by Kaikaiawaro who remained there for a number of generations. The relationship between Ngati Kuia and Kaikaiawaro was to reinforce their connection with the foreshore and seabed. Land at the head of the bay, commonly known as Okoha, was occupied during the harvesting of titi and hapuku. It was later set aside as a reserve under the Landless Natives Act 1906. Both my grandmother and grandfather have land interests in this reserve. In this thesis Anakoha also represents a worldview, it is therefore not only a geographical place but a state of mind and a state of being, it is for Ngati Kuia the ‘genesis’ of the foreshore and seabed claim.
On another level this thesis examines how Ngati Kuia has become marginalised in their attempt at having their property rights recognised at law. Litigation presented Ngati Kuia with an opportunity to address the problems faced as they attempted to enter the marine farming industry. It also provided an avenue to re-negotiate historical grievances. In his report United Nations Special Rapporteur Professor Rodolfo Stavenhagen noted that in New Zealand Maori customary rights have in fact been legally recognised ‘through the courts, parliamentary statute or administrative decision’. However, he also stated that the same mechanisms had been used to dispossess Maori and extinguish their inherent rights. Furthermore the protest movements of the last few decades and the establishment of the Waitangi Tribunal can be traced to this process.