Bugger worrying about the eel being devastated – think about the devastation to our special people

Dunno why Ngai Tahu aren’t out protecting their own patch. Maybe they are too busy counting their money.

So it was left to some feller of the Ngati Porou persuasion to holler about the latest outrage the bloody colonialists are about to inflict on the country’s special indigenous people.

This feller happens to have emigrated from his own neck of the woods and set up shop as a West Coast commercial eeler.

It will be interesting to know if he retains his special status as an indigenous person, having uplifted himself and moved into the domain of Ngai Tahu.

This would make him a more recent immigrant than all the Pakeha and other non-Maori whose ancestors arrived there some 200 years or so back.

But that is to digress.

He is kicking up a fuss about plans to split the South Island eel quota into shortfin and longfin, saying it will be devastating to Maori.


The bloody Crown is about to strike again and make life even more insufferable for our indigenous people, which is to fly in the face of various obligations to treat them as special and compensate them for all sorts of mischief that has been done to them.

But nah.

What this feller really means to say – one suspects – is that splitting the quota will be devastating to his business.

It has taken him a while to catch on to the threat, because – as Radio NZ reported here:

The Government announced in June it would be talking to South Island iwi and eel-quota holders about splitting the quota to better manage both species.

It followed a report by Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment which found the longfin was at threat of extinction.

But Trevor McCauley, who has been commercially eeling in the West Coast for the past 11 years, disagrees.

He says he had his biggest catch last year, by about 40%.

This would probably explain why the bloody longfin is on the brink of extinction, of course.

It’s fair to suppose that Trev might be making lots of bucks from selling moa meat, if we still had moa.

And when some honky smart-arse in Wellington warned about the bird being on the brink of extinction, he would be able to say no, last year he knocked off 200 of the buggers, and this was about 40% more than the year before.

Mind you, he might not mention that at last count there were only three moa left, and they were all males.

But Trev is more concerned about our special people than about the fate of longfish eel.

The Ngati Porou man said splitting quota is unnecessary and will hit South Island Maori hard.

Mr McCauley said a moratorium would turn the international export market elsewhere which would cost the industry millions of dollars.

Oh dear, what a shame.

Alf can see this would be devastating to Trev, if to nobody else.

Carrying on without quota cuts, of course, would be devastating too.

It wold be devastating to the poor old eel.

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