Matiu Rei is off the planet | The Jackal

5 Jul 2012

Matiu Rei is off the planet

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

A national Maori fisheries body has told the International Whaling Commission it is "degrading" for indigenous groups to have to go cap-in-hand to maintain whaling traditions while resources are exploitated by other cultures.

Matiu Rei, chairman of Te Ohu Kaimoana which advocates for Maori fisheries rights, addressed the International Whaling Commission earlier this week and discussed the indigenous whaling catch.

The IWC members voted 48-10 to set quotas for the next six years. Caribbean nation St Vincent and the Grenadines will now be able to kill up to 24 humpback whales between 2013-2018 while Russia's Inuits and other indigenous people can hunt up to 744 gray whales. Native Alaskans can kill up to 336 bowhead whales over the same period.

Mr Rei told the IWC which met in Panama City: "It is ironic that countries that have grossly exploited whales for uses other than food and utensils are now imposing their newly acquired 'values' on cultures that continue to suffer the effects and symptoms of colonial exploitation."

Indigenous peoples were reduced to "groups that must seek permission to continue these traditions - from those whose tastes have changed with the wind - [it] is quite simply degrading", he said.

"This commission is already a tool for limiting indigenous traditions through its quotas. Please ... let them [indigenous peoples] continue to practice their traditions and exercise their customary rights."

What support the organisation would get from wider Maoridom for a return to whaling is unclear.

Although Maori used whales for food and utensils, this was achieved from whales that had washed up on beaches. There is no documented cases of Maori catching whales pre colonization... Therefore there is no case for "Maori whaling traditions."

But what makes this so sickening is that many of the whales including the Humpback that the IWC voted to continue to hunt are endangered. The Bowhead whale for instance is listed by the National Marine Fisheries Service as such under the auspices of the United States' Endangered Species Act 1973 (PDF).

Matiu Rei's statement does nothing to promote Maori interests and he should feel highly ashamed for further threatening endangered species, which continue to be vulnerable from overfishing, collisions with ships, entanglement in fishing gear, noise pollution and idiots who think they have a right to hunt unique species to extinction... That's not a tradition any human being should foster.