Concern about access to kaimoana after Rena

4:01 pm on 25 January 2013

Tauranga Moana a Toi iwi leaders group chair Te Awanui Black says Maori in coastal parts of Bay of Plenty are running out of patience about not having full access to kaimoana, due to the Rena disaster.

On Thursday, the Rena recovery monitoring group confirmed there are elevated levels of contamination on the seabed close to the wreck.

Mr Black said that's a major concern for Maori as the area around the reef is a real food cupboard for many families.

He said not being able to source kaimoana for so long from traditional spots because of the Rena disaster and a seasonal algal bloom in the water at various times, has been really frustrating.

Mr Black said Maori have shown infinite patience, but new evidence of contamination near the reef means it's starting to wear thin.

Meanwhile, residents on Motiti Island who rely on kaimoana for their diet, are concerned about the findings by the Rena monitoring group.

A Maori elder Nepia Ranapia said they're worried about the negative impact on fish caught near the island, which is quite close to the reef.

He said that if the fish are contaminated with copper residue and polyaromatic hydrocarbons, that will put a huge burden on Motiti Island residents.

Mr Ranapia said the area of water between Motiti and Otaiti (Astrolabe Reef) is a significant source of kaimoana.