A mana whenua spokesperson claims a rāhui placed over the famous Mermaid Pools in Northland is being breached and ignored. The highly popular summer destination near Whāngārei is still closed off to the public until their puna wai is cleaned and restored.
Ngātiwai Trust Board trustee Ngapera Hohepa says, “We’re frustrated but we will monitor the area and ensure that local government are involved."
The local iwi board put a notice on their Facebook page during the week advising that the pools continue to be closed off to the public. The rāhui was originally put on the site earlier this year because of overcrowding and desecration of the whenua caused by people leaving their rubbish behind.
“It is the spot for swimming over the summer holidays but to Ngātiwai it holds mana and history to their whakapapa. Its original name is Te Wai o Taniwha and had an abundance of kaimoana such as kaura,” Hohepa says.
But over time, koura would desert the pools due to the overcrowding of people. At its peak during the holiday season, more than 2000 people would swim in its waters. Now, with the rāhui put in place that also includes the track which leads down to the pools on Rangitapu maunga.
“Locals have witnessed people trespassing the mountain Rangitapu”
The settlement of Matapouri where the pools are situated is expected to see thousands of people arrive on its shores.