Marlborough District Council to decide on East Coast Bylaw

In September 2021, Rangitāne submitted on the Marlborough District Council’s Proposed East Coast Bylaw.  At the time, Rangitāne raised two key points concerning the proposed Bylaw: the first was a concern about a serious procedural misstep in the process of developing the Bylaw and the second related to matters of substance.

Following this, a hearings panel was appointed with two independent commissioners (Commissioner Rob Enright and Commissioner Ma-rea Clayton) and one Councillor (Councillor David Croad).

The Council received nearly 200 submissions on the Proposed East Coast Bylaw.  The hearings panel heard from submitters at hearings held 23-25 November 2021 at the Marlborough Events Centre.

At the hearing of the Bylaw on 23 November 2021, Rangitāne made the following points, which had been previously made in our written submission:

  1. The procedure adopted by Council in developing, notifying and consulting in relation to the Bylaw had seriously misfired on account of the Council’s mistaken belief (which was peppered throughout the documents promulgating the Bylaw) that Ngāti Kuri, a hapū of Ngāi Tahu, was the only iwi which held tangata whenua, mana whenua and mana moana status in the area the subject of the Bylaw
  2. The Bylaw was flawed in substance because, as proposed, it will unlawfully remove the ability of tangata whenua, including Rangitāne, to exercise customary rights in the Subject Area.

Rangitāne considers that it is a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi (Article 2) for legislation (including secondary legislation) to extinguish or curtail Māori customary rights.  In making bylaws, Council is a delegate of the Crown and has the responsibilities of the Crown, including the Crown’s obligations to meet its obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi.

Rangitāne submitted a proposed way forward:

  1. Rangitāne needs to be acknowledged as having tangata whenua, mana moana and mana whenua status in the Subject Area
  2. The Bylaw must not apply to the exercise by tangata whenua of their customary rights

Subsequently, the Commissioners finalised their report of recommendations on 18 July 2022.  The Commissioners proposed a range of options, including the following areas for Council to consider:

  • Provide All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) / Utility Task Vehicle (UTV) access over 9km from Marfells Beach Reserve and the “Airstrip” south of the lighthouse at Te Karaka/Cape Campbell. Access would be restricted to daylight hours, travel below MHWS and no access on reef systems
  • Providing vehicle access for limited business requirements/commercial operations at Lake Grassmere and commercial launching of vessels at Ward Beach in line with existing resource consent conditions
  • Introduce an early review of the efficacy and effectiveness of the proposed Bylaw in 2025

Council received the Commissioners’ Report in the public excluded part of a Council meeting in August 2022.  At that meeting the Council resolved to accept the as-notified Bylaw (with the recommendations above, subject to input from tangata whenua).  It also agreed that other recommendations would be considered in the first review of the Bylaw (in 2025).

Council has now undertaken a form of engagement with Rangitāne on the Proposed East Coast Bylaw, for the purposes of enabling Rangitāne to provide our views, in the context of the Commissioners’ Report and the decisions taken by Council on 11 August 2022.  During that engagement, we reiterated the points that we have made throughout the East Coast Bylaw Submission process.  Engagement with Rangitāne has been, from our perspective, inadequate and inconsistent with the Council’s engagement with Ngāti Kuri (who Council has considered to be the tangata whenua with mana moana and mana whenua in the area), whilst describing Rangitāne’s interests as historical and traditional.  We do not believe that the process has enabled Rangitāne’s ability to continue to exercise our customary fisheries rights, to discharge and exercise our kaitiaki responsibilities and to enable continued access to important wāhi tapu and sites of significance.

We provided feedback that we do not support the Bylaw as originally drafted, nor do we support the Bylaw in the form proposed by the Commissioners.  We hold this view for a variety of reasons, including that our rights and interests, through the Bylaw process, have been prejudiced relative to other iwi interests, and the Bylaw (as proposed) does not take into consideration the need for us to access our sites of significance or to carry out our customary and cultural practices.

This week, Council will meet (on Thursday) to determine next steps for the Bylaw process.  They are considering four options:

  • Option One – Approve the as-notified Bylaw and the Panel’s Stage One and Stage Two recommendations.
  • Option Two – Approve the as-notified Bylaw and the Panel’s Stage One recommendations and defer the Stage Two recommendations to a review
  • Option Three – Approve the as-notified Bylaw.
  • Option Four – Do nothing and not make a Bylaw

We are continuing to keep across this mahi and reassure whānau that we are committed to our role as kaitiaki, in protecting the mana of our taiao, also in ensuring that the customary rights afforded to us are protected.

We will continue to provide updates to whānau as this matter progresses.

Further information in relation to Rangitāne’s position and submissions on the Proposed East Coast Bylaw can be read at the links below:

You can find more information, including the paper to Council, at the link below: Marlborough District Council Agenda | 2 March 2023

By |2023-03-01T12:55:03+13:00March 1st, 2023|Categories: Iwi, Pānui|0 Comments