13 Apr 2015

Guardian dishes up permit advice

6:32 am on 13 April 2015

A guardian of the giant shellfish, the toheroa, is warning other customary fishing permit holders to know exactly who they are giving permission to after a Whangamata man falsely gained a similar licence.

Thor Rubena was fined in the Waihi District Court last week for taking an excessive amount of paua and providing false information about a customary permit.

Official inquiries found he misled the authorised customary permit issuer.

A lower North Island kaumatua, Bob Miratana, said the issuer was not at fault, but he was disappointed with both Rubena and the person who gave him permission.

Mr Miratana, of Ngati Wehiwehi, said kaitiaki [guardians] must remember they were responsible for looking after a taonga.

He wanted them to only give out permits to people they knew, not just anyone.

Bob Miratana said issuing permits for toheroa was important to him because it was a taonga and he wanted to make sure it was available for future generations to appreciate.

He said the giant shellfish was not as plentiful as it was when he was a child.