Maori take Crown to High Court over Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary

Maori have launched legal action that could sink one of the world’s largest ocean sanctuaries.

Te Ohu Kaimoana, the Maori Fisheries Trust, has filed proceedings at the High Court in Wellington to prevent the Government establishing the Kermadec ocean sanctuary, north-east of New Zealand.

The sanctuary, announced by Prime Minister John Key in a headline-grabbing speech to the United Nations, would close off 620,000 square kilometres to fishing and mining.

Massey University marine ecologist David Aguirre said it would be a tremendous embarrassment if the sanctuary was overturned, “given the praise our nation and our government has been receiving around the world”.

But Te Ohu Kaimoana (TOKM) chairman Jamie Tuuta said the proposal rode roughshod over Maori interests.

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