24 commercial operators issued licenses to do business on Taupō-nui-a-Tia

Commercial Operators

The first stage of licensing commercial operators working on Taupō-nui-a-Tia continues to progress.

These are primarily fishing and scenic boat operators, kayak operators and hire equipment such as jet skis, stand-up-paddle boards and operators fixed to the lake bed. This also includes those operating on the Waikato Awa. The Taupō Hole in One Challenge, which is 100% Tūwharetoa owned is licensed as well.

The next part of stage one is to engage with fly-fishing guides who work the tributaries, which are the rivers and streams that flow into Taupō-nui-a-Tia. Fly-fishing guides, should they wish to continue to their businesses, need to have a commercial licence.

Events, Filming and Photography

Another important part of our licensing programme is issuing permissions to event promoters/operators, film-makers, photographers and vloggers (video bloggers). Drone operators are included in this as well.

As Taupō-nui-a-Tia is the venue for many sporting, power-boat, sailing events and fishing competitions, they too need to seek approval.

Protocols for Licence Holders

The Trust Board has Cultural, Taiao and Events, Filming and Photography Protocols that must be adhered to.

The Cultural Protocols include the requirement to observe rāhui, to keep away from wāhi tapu such as Motutāiko, as well as staying away from urupā and pā/marae which adjoin the shores of Taupō-nui-a-Tia.

Activities such as scattering human ashes and releasing foreign matter into, onto and over our waters are strictly prohibited.

The Taiao Protocols define how licence holders should treat the taiao when they operate on our waters. Licence Holders cannot under any circumstances dump rubbish, fuel, chemicals or any other para (pollutants or rubbish) into the wai.

There are other standards which are included in these extensive protocols. Protecting the tapu and mauri of the taiao, while keeping our rohe free from pollutants are important reasons for these protocols.

About Commercial Licensing

Taupō-nui-a-Tia was returned to Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board on behalf and for the benefit of Ngāti Tūwharetoa in 1992. In 1999, the titles to the beds of several rivers and streams flowing into Taupō-nui-a-Tia were transferred from the Crown to the Trust Board.

In 2007, the 1992 deed was enhanced. This new deed reaffirmed the Trust Board has the full ownership rights of Taupō-nui-a-Tia, Waikato Awa up to Te Toka a Tia and its tributaries that were returned to the iwi in 1999. These waters are collectively called ‘Taupō Waters’.

Some local businesses disputed the Trust Boards right to issue and charge for licenses to operate on Taupō Waters. The Trust Board applied to the High Court in 2017 for a Declaratory Judgement to clarify our property rights.

In 2021, the High Court issued their judgement, reaffirming the Trust Boards property rights, which include the right to issue licences to businesses operating on Taupō Waters, and the right to charge for them.

This is the legal basis upon which we issue licences to businesses.

The licencing scheme does not apply to the general public or anyone who wants to enjoy our wai. As per our Trust Deed, Taupō Waters will always be open to the public for all ‘non-exclusive, non-commercial recreational use and enjoyment’.

Click here to learn more about commercial licensing