Māori Perspectives on the Foreshore and Seabed Debate: A Dunedin Case Study
On 19 June 2003, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Māori Land Court had the power to decide foreshore and seabed claims lodged by Māori and to determine ownership. The decision also ruled that the Crown’s assumption of sovereignty was radical and thus it did not extinguish Māori title to land, including the foreshore and seabed. Although not a revolutionary decision, the Court’s ruling launched the nation into a fierce debate, bringing up the issues of beach access and ownership, public interest, customary usage, rights and title, aboriginal, or native, title, Indigenous rights, ‘the public domain’, Crown authority and the Treaty of Waitangi. All these arguments became entwined with political considerations. The mainstream media widely broadcast claims that Māori would restrict access, alienate the foreshore and seabed and veto development, resulting in fear from many Pākehā that they had lost their right to go to the beach. The Government reacted severely, choosing to change the law so to place the foreshore and seabed in Crown hands. Although the mainstream media acknowledged that the majority of Māori were against the proposed legislation, the reasons for this were never explained. Through this dissertation I will show that there is a plethora of reasons for Māori dissension. I also argue that for Māori, the key issues in the debate are not those portrayed in the mainstream media.
Degree Name: Bachelor of Arts with Honours
Degree Discipline: Te Tumu - School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies
Keywords: foreshore; seabed; foreshore and seabed; foreshore and seabed debate; customary useage; customary rights; cutomary title; Aboriginal rights; Aboriginal title; Native title; Indigenous rights; land title; ownership; Māori rights; Maori rights; rangatiratanga; kaitiakitanga; mana whenua; manawhenua; mana moana; manamoana; takutai moana; media; mainstream media; Crown title; beach access; beach access ownership; public interest; public domain; one law for all; Maori perspectives; Māori perspectives; hikoi; public access; land confiscation; legislative theft
Research Type: Dissertation