Meeting the tests under the Marine & Coastal Area Act

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You need to meet a test to get recognition of customary marine title and protected customary rights.

Meeting the tests for customary marine title

To have customary marine title recognised over an area, you must prove:

  • your group hold the specified area in accordance with tikanga and
  • your group have exclusively used and occupied the specified area, without substantial interruption, either:
    • from 1840 to the present day or
    • from the time of a customary transfer until the present day.

When looking at whether customary marine title exists, the Crown and High Court can consider:

  • who owns the land right behind the area (abutting land)
  • non-commercial customary fishing rights in the area.

If the area has been used by other groups for fishing and navigation, this does not necessarily stop you from meeting the test for customary marine title.

Find out more about customary interests under the Act

Meeting the tests for protected customary rights

To have protected customary rights recognised, you must prove:

  • your group have exercised the activity in accordance with tikanga since 1840 and
  • your group continue to exercise the activity today, in one way or another.

Find out more about customary interests under the Act 

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