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Communtity Law Manual | Māori land | Access by the New Zealand public to te takutai moana

Takutai moana: Customary rights in the marine and coastal area (foreshore and seabed)

Access by the New Zealand public to te takutai moana

Rights of Māori and non-Māori to access and use the common marine and coastal area

Te Takutai Moana Act 2011, ss 26–28

Te Takutai Moana Act guarantees that the New Zealand public can continue to have access to and use the common coastal and marine area, even if a Māori group’s customary rights have been legally recognised under the Act for the particular area. However this does not permit the public to cross any private land (including Māori-owned land) in order to access the coastal and marine area.

All New Zealanders can continue to do things like walking, swimming, sailing, kayaking, fishing and picnicking in the common coastal and marine area. The rules about recreational fishing continue unchanged.

However, those rights to recreational access and use are subject to any wāhi tapu conditions that have been included in a government agreement or High Court order recognising Māori customary rights under Te Takutai Moana Act. The wāhi tapu conditions can’t prevent fishers taking their legal entitlement under fisheries laws.

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