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Keywords:

  • Maori fisheries;
  • tribal capitalism;
  • New Zealand Quota Management System (QMS);
  • historic modes of access;
  • fishing rights;
  • marine tenure

The capitalist penetration of fisheries in New Zealand began in the nineteenth century and has carried on into the twenty-first. Early on, Maori were denied access to fisheries by a lack of access to capital; a de facto restriction that became a de jure restriction with the creation of fishing quotas in the 1990s. This legal change allowed Maori to use their historic treaty claims to articulate with the discourse of property rights and gain legal access to fish. In return, this engagement facilitated the penetration of capitalism into Maori fishing practices. Two Maori-controlled fishing companies, Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd (AFL) and Moana Pacific Fisheries Ltd (Moana Pacific), demonstrate how Maori ownership of fishing quotas irrevocably changed historical modes of access and relationships to capital.