National | Eel

Auckland resident hunts eels during floods

Communities across South East Auckland and the Coromandel have been battling floods since last night.

But one Ramarama resident made the most of the heavy rain and flooding by gathering a popular Māori delicacy.

Te Kuiti-raised Erina Wehi says, "Around this time we enjoy the ua because this is the time the tuna head off to tonga- so ko tēnei te wāhanga o te tuna whakaeke- usually we're out at this time anyway looking for tuna."

Tuna whakaeke is a traditional term used by many iwi to describe the migration of long-fin tuna to the open sea to breed.

31-year-old Erina Wehi recalls one of her earliest memories was gathering tuna with her father.

Wehi says, "What we usually do is, we get out in the paddocks when its flooded and we just poke and prod around the paddocks and if we do find tuna-koroua we help them back into the awa so they continue their journey on to tonga.  For the smaller ones, we'll put them back in the awa as well.  If we have kaumātua that haven't had a kai in a wee while we'll reserve those for them."

Meanwhile, it's been a busy 12 hours for Auckland Civil Defence, emergency services and other agencies responding to flooding and slips.

Auckland Civil Defence's Aaron Davis says, "We've seen unfortunately a lot of cars drive into flood waters.  They get stuck, you know, they put their lives at risk so don't drive through flood waters.  If you're driving tonight be very very careful in that area avoid it if you can."

Civil Defence warnings are still in place and people in the affected areas are asked to reach out to their neighbours and their community during this time.