(Source | Rotorua Daily Post | Matt Martin) After four years quietly working behind the scenes, 12 North Island iwi yesterday officially launched a multimillion-dollar global seafood venture in Rotorua.
About 70 representatives from iwi all over the North Island were at Te Pakira Marae in Whakarewarewa to witness the signing of the Iwi Collective Partnership (ICP) that would manage more than 15,000 tonnes of fish caught annually on behalf of the iwi.
Te Arawa Fisheries general manager Shane Heremaia said he was proud to announce Te Arawa’s involvement in the partnership.
He said the landmark joint venture would deliver seafood products to markets in New Zealand, Australia, the Pacific Islands, South Korea, China, Japan, Singapore, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Te Arawa Fisheries chairman Ron Roberts said iwi had been fishing the oceans for centuries and “this is a way of continuing that legacy on a global scale in partnership with New Zealand’s leading seafood companies including Moana Pacific, Sanford, Pelco and Tahi Marine”.
The ICP becomes the largest collective of iwi involved in the fisheries sector and is made up of interests from Nga Rauru, Ngaiterangi, Ngati Awa, Ngati Manawa, Ngati Porou, Ngati Ruanui, Taranaki Iwi, Ngaitai, Te Rarawa, Ngati Tuwharetoa, Whakatohea and Te Arawa.
“By collectivising iwi fisheries resources in the ICP, we can not only optimise returns but develop opportunities that create economies of scale and build capacity, capability and participation within the fisheries sector.
“We want to build a thriving seafood economy in the Bay of Plenty that will benefit not only our iwi, but the wider community,” Mr Heremaia said.
“Our strategy is to extract the greatest value from the seafood value chain to maximise revenues.
So we are not only leasing our quota but also catching, processing and marketing our seafood as well,” he said.
Mr Roberts said the prudent management of Te Arawa’s fisheries settlement made by the Crown in 2006 made assets available to generate greater benefit for Te Arawa.
“Maximising our revenues through the ICP increases the benefits that we provide in the form of tertiary scholarships, seafood training grants, iwi development funding and customary fisheries initiatives. It’s as simple as that.”
Mr Roberts said the deal also hammered home the responsibility of iwi to care for the long-term sustainability of their fisheries.
“By being actively involved in the management of our fisheries and marine resources through the ICP, we can help ensure that our moana is sustainably managed so that it can be enjoyed, not only by ourselves, but by future generations of New Zealanders for many years to come.”