South Island Customary Fishing Regulations (SICFR)

//South Island Customary Fishing Regulations (SICFR)

South Island Customary Fishing Regulations (SICFR)

Kia ora e te iwi

We are writing to update you on the current mahi being progressed by Rangitāne in relation to the South Island Customary Fishing Regulations.

Te Rūnanga a Rangitāne o Wairau Trust, through our mandated iwi representatives, is currently in the process of considering our entry into the South Island Customary Fishing Regulations (SICFR). These regulations serve as a legal framework to protect and preserve our traditional food gathering areas, and to enable the ongoing customary catch of kaimoana within our rohe moana.

This pānui is provided to keep our iwi members informed about this kaupapa and to provide you with our stance regarding Rangitāne participating in the SICFR.

It is important for us to first acknowledge the lengthy deliberations and negotiations surrounding this matter, which commenced in 1999 upon the enactment of the Regulations.  We extend our gratitude to the whānau who have guided Rangitāne through this journey.

By way of background, the SICFR were established in 1999 following the Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act of 1992.  In essence, the SICFR enable Te Tauihu iwi to manage customary food gathering areas in accordance with our tikanga, practices, and values.

While Rangitāne began discussions to enter the Regulations in good faith, these discussions broke down during the processes that commenced in 2007 between ngā iwi o Te Tauihu, on account of concerns regarding the way in which customary boundaries and kaitiaki appointments (among other matters) were sought to be addressed.

Despite numerous attempts between 2007 and 2020 to address these concerns, satisfactory resolutions were not achieved.

In 2020, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) supported and initiated iwi to enter mediation processes to address overlapping interests across the rohe moana and to explore collective implementation of the SICFR.  This mediation process was supported by Tā John Clark and Rangitāne again entered this process in good faith, with a view to achieving an outcome that ensured our rights and interests were protected and upheld.

Following some delays due to the pandemic, the process of mediation has again progressed in order to address the concerns previously expressed.  Rangitāne has been one of the iwi that has been unwavering in our stance that the rohe moana over the eight iwi overlaps and that our interests extend across the entirety of Te Tauihu.

We are very pleased to share the news with our whānau that through this process, we have been able to prepare a draft Kawenata | Agreement between ngā iwi o Te Tauihu.  At the heart of the kawenata are collective agreements that relate to:

  • defining a rohe moana for the purposes of the Regulations;
  • nomination and confirmation of kaitiaki;
  • working collaboratively to address concerns, threats and opportunities; and
  • adopting a tikanga-led approach to customary fisheries management.

Through the mediation processes, all eight iwi are required to agree on the kawenata approach, and our mandated representatives who are advancing our interests in this space are supportive of the kawenata, subject to certain conditions that ensure our settlement and customary rights are not diminished in anyway.  It is important to note that these processes are separate to, and do not impact on, the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) claim processes that Rangitāne is separately engaged in.

The mediation process is scheduled to end in mid-May 2024, and if agreement is unable to be reached by this time, by all eight iwi, the matter will be referred to legally binding arbitration proceedings which will be expensive, take considerable time and require significant financial resource to advance our position, with significant risk as to the outcome of such a process.  Working in good faith, our hope is that we can avoid arbitration.

Participating in the SICFR (through the kawenata) will safeguard our customary rights establish a tikanga-led kaitiaki framework which promotes a collaborative approach, respecting the interests of all eight Te Tauihu iwi, supporting effective customary fishing management in Te Tauihu.

If, and when, we transition to the SICFR, we will work with our kaitiaki on the relevant process changes that need to be made, but we do not anticipate that our whānau accessing customary fishing permits will notice any change to the way in which permits are accessed or utilised.  Importantly though, moving to the SICFR will protect our customary fishing rights and interests, as the current Amateur Fishing Regulations do not sufficiently protect us from other parties’ interests in fisheries across Te Tauihu.

We hope to be able to bring favourable news to our whānau within the next month or so as to the outcome of the mediation process that is underway.  In the meantime, our kaitiaki will continue to operate under the existing Amateur Fishing Regulations, and whānau can continue to access their customary fishing rights as they have done so.

Customary fishing permits can be obtained from our kaitiaki, and a listing of those kaitiaki is available on our website:

If you have any questions in the meantime, please reach out by email to, and your enquiry will be referred to the representatives working on our behalf in this space.

Ngā mihi nui, nā

Corey Hebberd
Kaiwhakahaere Matua (General Manager)
Rangitāne o Wairau Group

By |2024-05-03T12:18:46+12:00May 3rd, 2024|Categories: Pānui|0 Comments