Whakaari/ White Island: Rāhui removed

4:35 pm on 28 December 2019

The rāhui that was put in place after the Whakaari/ White Island eruption has been lifted.

Whakaari White Island eruption as seen from tourist boat

The rāhui was put in place as a mark of respect for those who lost their lives in the eruption. Photo: Supplied / Lillani Hopkins

It comes after discussions were held this morning between Ngāti Awa Kaumatua and cultural experts, followed by karakia.

All marine activities including fishing and the gathering of seafood can now resume.

Te Runanga o Ngāti Awa says it acknowledges residents, visitors and the public for their respect and support of the rāhui.

Whakaari / White Island rāhui sign.

The sign explaining the need for the rāhui. Photo: Supplied / Craig Te Kaha

Summer is the peak time for bookings and Whakatāne fishing and tour operators have been losing thousands of dollars a day due to restrictions put in place following the eruption.

Two weeks ago Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a $5 million contingency fund for Whakatāne and the Westland community affected by recent flooding.

Ministers confirmed that support for Whakatāne would consist of a Business Support Grants Programme, and expanded recovery coordination services for local, viable businesses that have been significantly affected by the eruption.

The Eastern Bay of Plenty Chamber of Commerce will be the first point of contact for local businesses, and the grants will go through a streamlined approval process.

A panel with representatives appointed by the Whakatāne District Council, Ministry of Social Development, and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa will approve grants for the programme.

Seventeen people are confirmed to have died as a result of the Whakaari / White Island eruption.

The official search for the two remaining victims of the Whakaari / White Island disaster has been called off, but locals are still looking for the bodies of Hayden Marshall-Inman and Winona Langford.

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