Author(s): Brian Bargh
Maori fishing rights were guaranteed by the Treaty of Waitangi, taken away by Crown actions, and, along with Maori land rights and other grievances, contested throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Finally, after years of struggle in the courts, through the Waitangi Tribunal and in protests, Maori fishing rights were restored. This book claims that four pou or elements significantly assisted in the recognition and eventual recovery of Maori fishing rights: The Treaty of Waitangi; the courts; The Waitangi Tribunal and the resilience and tenacity of Maori people, who never gave up fighting for what was right. The author argues that the strong tradition of fairness and justice in New Zealand society provided a platform for Maori and Pakeha to support the four pou and address the injustices that included not only a denial of Maori fishing rights but also a large number of others. The restoration of Maori fishing rights, therefore, is not an isolated event but is part of the larger picture of New Zealand society accepting that Maori had been unjustly treated since the 1840s and choosing to redress those injustices.
Brian Bargh has a Master of Agricultural Science degree and spent several years working as a water quality scientist and manager, including three years in Papua New Guinea. He has had thirty years' involvement in environmental and social justice movements and has been a negotiator for the Crown in settling historical grievances Maori hapu and iwi have taken against the Crown. He has also written several reports on grievances for the Waitangi Tribunal. Until recently, he was publishing manager of commercial books for Huia Publishers.