Those claiming Waitangi Day is being hijacked by radical Maori groups for political purposes may ponder the antics of an outdoor recreation group which is opposing customary rights applications being made under the Marine and Coastal Area Act.

The Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations, or more particularly spokesman Hugh Barr, staged a meeting at Mahia over the Christmas holidays and another last Monday, claiming, "Prime Minister John Key gave away public ownership of the coastal area".

Mr Barr has claimed bach owners, fishing enthusiasts, surfers and boaties face losing access to the coast, or at least may have to pay heaps for it, if the applications are granted.

This may also be seen as politically highjacking the agenda, for it moves to pre-empt a process which is yet to be undertaken. The tone of this opposition - "echo of apartheid", really? - and claiming the process to be secretive is both unhelpfully emotive and mischievous in the context of the ground on which we stand today.


Waitangi Day is, indeed, a day on which we should all be thinking about how we can all contribute to a process of resolving historical grievances and issues, which in some cases can only ever be modestly addressed.

Thus, rather than to seek to deprive anyone of any of the rights they currently have, the foremost desire of iwi making applications under the act, and claimants, is to ensure beaches and such resources are available to and accessible by all, and hopefully in better nick than they may be at this point in time.

It is not an exclusive concept at all, and seeks to protect resources for all of us, and all of those who shall come after us, our children, and grandchildren, our tamariki and mokopuna, the next generations.