Fisheries Claims Settlement Act 1992

The Waikato River is regarded as a tuupuna (ancestor) from which our iwi derived its name.

The Waikato River continues to sustain our people, its communities and the nation, and is also the home of our fisheries. Our fisheries are a taonga. They are treated as such because they sustain our way of life both physically and spiritually.

The bylaws recognise the traditional practices of Waikato-Tainui to manage the freshwater fisheries of the Waikato River for cultural and sustainability reasons.

A key pillar of the Waikato River Settlement is the co-management of fisheries resources through our own Waikato River Fisheries Regulations. These ‘Regulations’ allow Waikato-Tainui to propose fisheries bylaws to ensure the careful use of the fishery within our part of the Waikato River.

This is kaitiakitanga in action.

The bylaws outlined in this document arise from the Waikato-Tainui Environmental Plan – Tai Tumu, Tai Pari, Tai Ao, that was approved by Kiingi Tuheitia.

These bylaws allow the tribe to exercise mana whakahaere in managing the use of the fishery in the rivers, lakes and streams within the Waikato Tainui Fisheries Area. We have an inherent obligation to care for the fisheries taonga gifted to us by our tuupuna. We need to ensure that these taonga are safeguarded for current and future generations.

This round of proposed bylaws focuses on tuna (eels), an iconic taonga species that have sustained our iwi for centuries. Traditional management tools such as raahui for cultural and sustainability purposes are also considered.


Waikato-Tainui, like many iwi, is in a unique position in that we are commercial, recreational and customary fishers. These bylaws will apply to us as an iwi as much as they will apply to others. We too must uphold the rules.

For a copy of the Waikato River Fisheries Bylaws for the Waikato-Tainui Fisheries Area, click here.