Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa advises the rāhui (temporary ritual prohibition) placed over the Ngāti Awa customary coastal
marine area for fishing and gathering kaimoana (seafood) remains in place until further notice.
A total rāhui (gathering kaimoana, fishing and maritime activities) was applied by Ngāti Awa kaumātua last week out of
respect for those who perished in last Monday’s Whakaari tragedy, and those who were unaccounted for and could be in the
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Chair and Ngāti Awa cultural expert Dr Hohepa Mason says because two victims are still
unaccounted for and are possibly in the ocean the rāhui on fishing and gathering kaimoana remains.
“Out of continued respect for those yet to be returned to their loved ones, and the cultural implications around the
likely presence of tūpāpaku (deceased) in the moana (ocean), the Ngāti Awa rāhui in our rohe (Ngāti Awa tribal boundary)
on collecting kaimoana and fishing will remain in place until further notice”.
Other maritime activities (swimming, kayaking and boating) not related to kaimoana gathering and fishing would be
permissible after 11am on Friday 20 December.
There is no change to the rāhui status of Te Puia Whakaari (Whakaari/White Island), with Dr Mason stressing the island
remains completely out of bounds. “Whakaari remains under rāhui and should be respectfully avoided at this time”.
Dr Mason says Ngāti Awa acknowledge that while this is a traditional time of the year for fishing and gathering kaimoana
(seafood), the iwi (tribe) respectfully ask for the continued adherence to the kaimoana rāhui in the rohe of Ngāti Awa
and the rāhui over Whakaari.
“The general public and manuhiri (visitors) have been very respectful of our rāhui and we appreciate their dedicated
observance of this Ngāti Awa tikanga”.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa will make further updates on the rāhui if there are any changes to the current situation.