What are customary interests?

Learn about how to apply for recognition of your customary interests under the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011.

Deadline for Applications has closed

Iwi, hapū or whānau group can get recognition of two types of customary interest under the Marine and Coastal Area Act:

  • customary marine title
  • protected customary rights

Customary marine title

Customary marine title recognises the relationship of an iwi, hapū or whānau with a part of the common marine and coastal area. Customary marine title can’t be sold and free public access, fishing and other recreational activities are allowed to continue in customary marine title areas.

If your group has customary marine title recognised over an area, it will hold these rights:

  • a Resource Management Act permission right which lets the group say yes or no to activities that need resource consents or permits in the area
  • a conservation permission right which lets the group say yes or no to certain conservation activities in the area
  • the right to be notified and consulted when other groups apply for marine mammal watching permits in the area
  • the right to be consulted about changes to Coastal Policy Statements
  • a wāhi tapu protection right which lets the group seek recognition of a wāhi tapu and restrict access to the area if this is needed to protect the wāhi tapu
  • the ownership of minerals other than petroleum, gold, silver and uranium which are found in the area
  • the interim ownership of taonga tūturu found in the area
  • the ability to prepare a planning document which sets out the group’s objectives and policies for the management of resources in the area

Meeting the tests for customary marine title

To have customary marine title recognised over an area, you must prove:

  • your group hold the specified area in accordance with tikanga and
  • your group have exclusively used and occupied the specified area, without substantial interruption, either:
    • from 1840 to the present day or
    • from the time of a customary transfer until the present day.

When looking at whether customary marine title exists, the Crown and High Court can consider:

  • who owns the land right behind the area (abutting land)
  • non-commercial customary fishing rights in the area.

If the area has been used by other groups for fishing and navigation, this does not necessarily stop you from meeting the tests for customary marine title.

Protected customary rights

Protected customary rights can be granted for a customary activity like collecting hāngi stones or launching waka in the common marine and coastal area.

If your group has a protected customary right recognised, you don’t need resource consent to carry out that activity and local authorities can’t grant resource consents for other activities that would have an adverse effect on your protected customary right.

Meeting the tests for protected customary rights

To have protected customary rights recognised, you must prove:

  • your group have exercised the activity in accordance with tikanga since 1840 and
  • your group continue to exercise the activity today, in one way or another.

 

 

Find out more about customary interests under the Act