22 Apr 2019

Most respect rāhui placed on famous Mermaid pools

8:38 pm on 22 April 2019

Only one visitor has failed to respect the rāhui placed on the Mermaid rock pools at Northland's Matapōuri beach which have been closed because of pollution, hapū elders say.

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Aperahama Edwards (left) with a carved pou rāhui at the track entrance to Matapōuri's Mermaid pools, now closed because of pollution. Photo: RNZ / Lois Williams

The pools known to manawhenua as Te Wai o Te Taniwha have become so popular they are now polluted with urine, sunscreen and algal slime.

A carved rāhui pou is at the track entrance to the pools. The pou shows the head of the taniwha and the waters that swirl over the pools when he swims by. Inset is a piece of pounamu greenstone, from Ngāi Tahu, to represent the pools.

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Photo: RNZ / Lois Williams

Hapū elders have kept watch over the spot all Easter, explaining to would-be visitors that the pools need to be left alone to recover.

Aperahama Edwards said all but one visitor who insisted on going up the track, have respected the rāhui and the reasons for it, when explained.

The Department of Conservation said it fully supported the rāhui on the Mermaid Pools and it was appealing to visitors to respect it.