New restrictions are now in place to help protect our taonga ika, native fish species.
The Te Arawa Lakes (fisheries) Bylaw 2020 puts new rules and restrictions in place when fishing for taonga ika.
The bylaws are a historic development and are the first time fisheries bylaws have been set under the Te Arawa Lakes treaty settlement through the Te Arawa Fisheries Regulations
The new bylaws will not only put limits on the numbers of taonga species taken, allowing taonga species to regenerate for the benefit of future generations, but they will also allow us to learn more about the state of the overall fishery through the data collected, recognise customary practices and create future jobs and opportunities for Te Arawa whānau. Under the bylaws people can still gather taonga species, but you need to get a pukawhaka mana (permit) from Te Arawa Poutiriao (permit issuers). Enquire more about the process and apply here email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Each of the individual nga taonga ika species has different restrictions relation to the size, catch numbers and methods which can be used. More details about the Bylaw size and limits can be found here.
What lakes are included in the bylaw?
The Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes (Rotoehu, Rotomā, Rotorua, Ōkataina, Rotoiti, Ōkareka, Rerewhakaaitu, Tarawera, Rotomahana, Tikitapu, Ngāhewa, Tutaeīnanga, Ngāpouri and Ōkaro) are now covered by the Te Arawa Lakes (fisheries) Bylaw 2020
Note: Lake Rotokākahi, the Ohau Channel and the streams that connect to the lakes are not covered by the bylaw.
What lakes are covered by the Bylaws?
The Te Arawa Lakes that are covered by the Te Arawa Lakes (Fisheries) Bylaws 2020 Rotoehu, Rotomā, Rotorua, Ōkataina, Rotoiti, Ōkareka, Rerewhakaaitu, Tarawera, Rotomahana, Tikitapu, Ngāhewa, Tutaeīnanga, Ngāpouri and Ōkaro.
Note:- Rotokākahi, the Ohau Channel and the streams that connect to the above lakes are not covered by the Bylaws.
Why have these Bylaws been put in place?
The Bylaws have been designed to protect the relevant taonga ika by making sure they are not overfished, they are not taken when they are carrying eggs, and by collecting information about fishing activity across the relevant lakes.
What species are covered by the Bylaws?
These Bylaws only apply to the six named taonga ika: kōaro, kōura, īnanga tuna, morihana and kākahi. Other taonga ika, and non-taonga ika such as trout, are not affected by the Bylaws.
How do the Bylaws interact with existing fishing regulations?
Within the relevant lakes, for the six taonga ika covered, the Bylaws prevail over the Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 2013 and Freshwater Fisheries Regulations 1971.
Why do the Bylaws say you can only catch the taonga ika in certain ways?
Some kinds of fishing practices (for example, drift nets) catch large numbers of fish in a way that is unsustainable. The methods for catching taonga ika that are specified in the Bylaws are all traditional practices that suit a sustainable and responsible fishery. By limiting fishing to traditional techniques we recognise the wisdom of traditional tikanga and hope to restore knowledge of these techniques among younger generations.
Why is use of SCUBA gear to dive for taonga ika banned?
Diving with artificial respiration is not a traditional practice and it allows people to gather far more fish (and more easily) than they would be able to otherwise. In the interests of protecting our taonga ika and giving them the opportunity to flourish, use of SCUBA gear to dive for taonga ika has been prohibited under the Bylaws.
Who gets to be a Poutiriao?
Te Arawa iwi and hapū members who wish to train as Te Arawa Poutiriao can contact the Te Arawa Lakes Trust. The Trust (alongside the Ministry for Primary Industries) will be providing training opportunities in compliance and other relevant areas. The Trustees of the Te Arawa Lakes Trust may then nominate persons for appointment after consulting with, and taking into account, the wider views of iwi and hapū of Te Arawa on those nominations. The Minister of Fisheries will confirm any appointment by public notice.
Do I need to be Te Arawa to get a puka whakamana?
Anyone can contact a Te Arawa Poutiriao to seek a puka whakamana. It is custom for Te Arawa to provide manaaki to all of those in our rohe (area). At times a puka whakamana may not be issued if the Poutiriao considers the fishery is not sustainable or that the take would not be in line with Te Arawa tikanga. We are doing this to balance our customary rights to collect taonga ika, including manaaki, with the need to protect these species for future generations.
I am Te Arawa and I whakapapa to these lakes. Why should I need a puka whakamana?
The Te Arawa Lakes Trust takes its role as kaitiaki of the lakes very seriously. Our people have customary rights to collect taonga ika from our lakes, but the use of puka whakamana means we can support sustainable use of our taonga ika and gather important information for a better overview of the fishery. By doing this we can protect our lakes from overfishing or other damage for our current and future generations.
Who decided on these rules and what consultation was held?
We developed the Bylaws as part of our Mahire Whakahaere (Fisheries Management Plan), alongside the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Department of Conservation and Fish and Game. This was subject to extensive consultation with our own hapū, as well as a public submission process in 2018. We are proud to have our first set of Bylaws under our Te Arawa Lakes settlement.
Who can issue a puka whakamana?
Poutiriao can issue puka whakamana (authorisations).
How do I get a puka whakamana?
Email email@example.com or contact Te Arawa Lakes Trust at 1194 Haupapa St Rotorua 3010 PO Box 128. Call Freephone 0508 Te Arawa. Our opening hours are 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
Do I need to pay for a puka whakamana?
Do I need to report my catch?
Yes. Part of the agreement you sign up to in getting a puka whakamana is that you need to report back to the Poutiriao who issued it. You need to tell them what taonga ika you caught and how many, what lake you got the taonga ika from and what they were, or to be, used for.
What will the information from reports be used for?
We will use the information to get a broader and more in-depth picture of the state of our fishery in our lakes. This will be important information for us and other organisations we work with (such as the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Department of Conservation, Fish and Game and local councils) when we make future decisions on how to protect our taonga ika in our lakes.
Can I get a puka whakamana ahead of time?
Yes. A request must be made at least 48 hours ahead of when you want to gather taonga ika, unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as a tangihanga, that justify a shorter period. You must obtain a puka whakamana before you gather taonga ika, as one will not be issued retrospectively (after the gathering has occurred).
How long does a puka whakamana last for?
48 hours from the commencement of the puka whakamana.
Do I need to have the puka whakamana with me at all times?
Yes. You need to keep your puka whakamana with you so that you can show it to a fisheries officer on demand. If your puka whakamana was issued orally, you will need to have a note of the puka whakamana number. A fisheries officer can then follow up with the Poutiriao who issued the permit.
What process do I have to follow now if I want to gather taonga species?
You need to get a puka whakamana and abide by the restrictions in the Bylaws. These include limits on the size and number of taonga ika caught, restrictions on fishing methods, a ban on SCUBA diving for taonga ika, and no fishing for kōaro.
After you have been fishing you need to report back in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org, or orally, to the Poutiriao who issued your permit. You need to tell them what taonga ika you caught and how many, what lake you got the taonga ika from and what they were, or to be, used for.
Can I gather more fish that usual if I am preparing to host an important gathering, such as a tangihanga?
The Bylaws allow people with a puka whakamana to apply to gather larger numbers of some taonga ika if they are hosting a significant event. However, the decision about how much of any taonga ika can be taken is for the Poutiriao to determine, based on their knowledge of the fishery and in accordance with the Mahere Whakahaere (fisheries management plan) which can be found here. The limits for different species can be found here. It is essential that you report back your catch to the Poutiriao so they have the most up to date information on the numbers of taonga ika taken from the lakes.
Will the limits for the number of fish/size of catch be the same every time I go fishing?
Not necessarily. The Bylaws state the upper limit of fish that can be caught, but anyone wishing to take taonga ika can only take the amount determined by the Poutiriao. This may be different to the limit suggested if the fishery is under pressure.
Why is there a ban on kōaro fishing?
In the relevant lakes, the stocking of trout, and later smelt, has seen kōaro stocks decline to near extinction. The only way to protect the species is to put a total ban on gathering kōaro.
What if I break the rules by accident?
If you accidentally catch kōaro, kōura that are moulting or carrying eggs or hatchlings, or undersized fish, you need to put them straight back into the water.
If you breach the restrictions or any other element of the Bylaws, you could be fined.
What is the penalty for breaching the Bylaws?
If you are caught in breach of the Bylaws (for example, fishing without a puka whakamana or fishing in breach of your puka whakamana or the Bylaws) you could be fined up to a maximum of $10,000 for the first offence, or up to a maximum of $20,000 for a second or subsequent offence.
Who will enforce the Bylaws?
Fishery Officers and Honorary Fishery Officers will have the authority to speak to anyone taking taonga ika from the relevant lakes, check their puka whakamana and take a prosecution.
Why haven’t I heard about these rules before?
Te Arawa Lakes (Fisheries) Bylaws 2020 came into effect on 20 March 2020. People gathering fish for customary purposes didn’t need a puka whakamana before that time. But Te Arawa Lakes Trust has been working on putting the Bylaws in place for more than a decade in order to protect our native fisheries.
What can I do if I see someone flouting the rules?
Take note of any relevant details (e.g. location, time, type of taonga ika, vehicle registration) and contact the the Ministry for Primary Industries 0800 4 POACHER hotline (0800 4 476 224). If you have any concerns for the safety and security of people or property, call the police.