Editorial 121

Freedom to walk a beach?

Crown ownership or pay to enter?

By Dave Moran

As we go to print submissions will have closed (19 November) to have your say about who owns New Zealands Foreshore and Seabed, the Crown or Maori iwi. The Marine and Coastal Area Bill which is to replace the current Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 is expected to be passed by the end of our current summer.

If you are like most people, you are flat out working for a living and just do not have the time to study what is going on in Parliament.

What the Attorney-General, Chris Finlayson, and the National Government with the Maori Party and iwi (tribes) are pushing will, I’m sure, be recorded in history as a major turning point in racial relationships between all races of people that call New Zealand their home.

The people of New Zealand will not be able to know what is being discussed by the Maori select committee who will decide the final outcome because it is being held behind closed doors – no public input or judicial review or appeal.

I thought we lived in a democratic society?  What is this all about?

I strongly encourage you to visit the Coastal Coalitions web site:


Spend a little time viewing the information there and you will, I’m sure, become very concerned with how this divisive bill is being pushed through Parliament without the New Zealand public being involved.

The issue is very complex and I’m sure many of you will shake your head – this is just too hard to understand.

Some of the points that jump out at you, and these have been commented on by local media, are:

– The bill is absolutely clear that when Maori claimants obtain their customary title, they will be able to designate areas as ‘wahi tapu’, and the public may be wholly or partly excluded from these areas, or allowed entry only on conditions.

– Wahi tapu are places sacred to Maori in the traditional, spiritual, religious, ritual or mythological sense. This virtually gives an open door to claim whatever you fancy. An example as to how wide wahi tapu can be taken is: The Historical Places Trust has already recognized one area as wahi tapu because it is mentioned in a song!

– If you are challenged on a beach or over your favourite dive/fishing site and refuse to leave or pay the local iwi the local council has a duty to press for your conviction and a fine up to $5000.00.

You may think the above comments are ‘over the top’! You only have to be aware of recent events in the north of the North Island where Maori have stopped access to coastal areas and the tearing up of a trespass notice while the television cameras were rolling.

If you spend the time to try and comprehend the coming changes you may think, wow this must appease Maori. Wrong! Maori party co-leader Dr Sharples recently commented, ‘There is division (with in Maoridom) because people hoped for more than this Parliament can offer’ These words just about say it all!

Restoring Maori Mana is often pushed as a reason for the changes. I never knew Maori lost it – the Maori I have met have mana.

I would suggest it’s not about mana it’s about money.

This is a beautiful country but within its people there is a growing cancer that will unfortunately take away the joy of the freedom to enjoy this beauty.

In ‘Letters to Editor’ read Ewan’s letter about what is happening in the Solomons – will this happen here? – Time and peoples self greed will reveal an outcome.

Still time to act? Yes there is. The  Select Committee’s report to Parliament is due by 25 February 2011. Make your voice heard by visiting:


To read the Government’s official information (


) on this bill Google: The marine and coastal area bill. To read David Rounds full article as published in the NZ Herald 1st Nov 2010, Google: NZ Herald Unpleasant surprises loom in new seabed law

Another year under the weightbelt – where did it go?

The team and I at Dive New Zealand/Dive Pacific wish to thank all our readers and advertisers for their support throughout the year, it is greatly appreciated. We look forward to your support during 2011 and we will do our utmost to bring you a magazine that is of the highest international quality.

Enjoy our ‘DownUnder’ summer and make sure you blow a few bubbles!

Dave Moran

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