15 Apr 2013

Rapa Nui elder says indigenous people must own marine reserves

4:43 am on 15 April 2013

A Rapa Nui elder says if reserves are established around her island her people must own them.

Pew Environment Group's Kermadec Initiative hosted a group from Rapa Nui or Easter Island, French Polynesia and Chile looking to New Zealand for expertise on how to protect their ocean resources.

The trip has been described as an opportunity for the indigenous delegates to see how iwi have been able to negotiate with the government.

But Jacqueline Rapu Tuki says indigenous people should get the benefit of marine reserves.

"Here in New Zealand the government owns the reserve. What we'd like to see on Rapa Nui is that the Rapa Nui own the reserve."

Jacqueline Rapu Tuki says a marine reserve would be very important for Rapa Nui's identity but also for the rest of the world.