25 Nov 2015

Marae declares rahui over popular shellfish beds

3:33 pm on 25 November 2015

The senior elder of a Ngati Wai marae has declared a rahui on taking shellfish of any kind from the Ngunguru river.

Northland's Ngunguru River

Northland's Ngunguru River Photo: Supplied / Ngunguru Marae

Paratene Te Manu Wellington, from the Ngunguru marae, imposed the ban at the weekend.

He stated there was to be no collection of pipi, cockles, tuatua or mussels in the Ngunguru River for at least two years.

Marae elders have asked locals to tell visitors to Ngunguru that shellfish were now off the menu.

The Ministry for Primary Industries is expected to support the ban with a closure of the pipi beds, after thousands of the shellfish died suddenly last autumn.

But marae elders said it had become evident all the shellfish had been dying back over the past two years, possibly from contaminants in the water.

The Ngunguru community has formed a catchment group, led by the Northland Regional Council, in the hope of discovering what has caused the decline of the pipi beds, and fixing it.