Wai 449 : Kiwifruit Claim

Wī Pārera Te Kani was an esteemed kaumātua of Ngāi Tukairangi and the chairman of the Ngāi Tukairangi Trust when he and Bruce Norman, then Marata Norman (Ngāti Moko) lodged a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal on the 19th of December 1994. The claim challenged the Primary Products Marketing Act 1953 and the Kiwifruit Marketing Regulations 1977, which gives the New Zealand Kiwifruit Marketing Board a monopoly to export kiwifruit to all foreign markets except Australia.

The essence of the claim revolved around two primary themes; the first being a breach of Article II of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The claim emphasised that the Crown’s failure to recognise the right to engage in international trade as a taonga, as guaranteed under Article II of the Treaty, constituted a direct violation of its obligations. Wī Pārera and Marata firmly asserted our right to exercise tino rangatiratanga over the produce we grow on our whenua and our inherent right to self-determination in accordance with international law. Secondly, in an issue that remains pertinent in today’s political landscape, our kaumātua highlighted the lack of consultation with Māori particularly during the establishment of the NZKMB in 1988.

Our kaumātua advocated for an immediate revocation of the Kiwifruit Marketing Regulations 1977, urging for amendments that would enable the Crown to issue a kiwifruit export licenses to Māori. This proposed license would empower the holder to retain proceeds from kiwifruit sales directly, without pooling them.

Unfortunately, the Waitangi Tribunal did not support the claim and as a result, the single desk system for kiwifruit remains in place today. Nevertheless, we remain steadfast in honouring the aspirations of our kaumātua Wī Pārera Te Kani, using their vision to guide us as we continue on the path toward reclaiming our tino rangatiratanga. We propose that if the claim was submitted today, we would most likely have a greater understanding of the powerful role, Māori, such as Ngāi Tukairangi have in the future forging exporting pathways directly for our whānau.

Wī Pārera Te Kani