Lee Fish holds the Māori world view close to its heart.
The concept of Kaitiakitanga underpins all aspects of our operations;
The kinship between our people and nature, and the guardianship of the waters we harvest from each day...
A joint initiative with Ngati Whatua, the word Pataka translates to 'pantry' or 'storage area'
Lee Fish facilitates the processing and storage of customary-caught fish on behalf of the Ngati Whatua iwi, via a special permit under the Fisheries Act 1996.
A 'permit to catch' is granted by kaumātua (iwi leaders) for a particular volume and species, then a customary vessel goes to sea to catch it.
Iwi members can apply for 'Pataka fish' for special occasions such as funerals, weddings etc and kaumātua grant permits for the dispatch of this fish.
This initiative is one of only two customary 'Pataka' set up in New Zealand, and the only one utilizing long-line caught product caught within an iwi's own waters.
Pataka fish is packaged and labelled to the same specifications as our export-grade product, then frozen onsite.
Inventory and dispatch info is recorded for all fish caught and stored for this program.
Approximately half of Lee Fish's quota is leased in from iwi and private quota owners. Most northern iwi lease their ACE (quota) to Lee Fish on a 1-5 year basis.
Almost all northland iwi support us by leasing us their quota, as they see long-line fishing as the most sustainable method of catch and also believe their quota should be caught in their area (rohe).
Many of the workers we have employed in our operation have iwi affiliation, particularly further north. By offering employment opportunity we feel like we are giving back to the iwi which support us and also enabling them to be actively involved and have stewardship of their resource, thus entwining the Maori values of kaitiakitanga with our own.