National | Fishing

Māori Party co-leader encourages customary seafood gathering to get through lockdown

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins today reminded people that gathering some seafood and associated activity is not permitted under Level 4 lockdown rules, as it “puts other people at risk” but Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi is adamant that many Māori depend on the food source to survive.

“He mea tikanga tenei. He mea oranga tenei mo mātou o Te Whānau a Apanui, o te Whakatōhea o Ngāti Porou etahi ki roto o Tūhoe. Koinā tō rātou oranga kei roto i te ngahere, mātou hoki kei roto i te moana”

“It's customary. It's survival for us here in Te Whānau a Apanui, Te Whakatōhea, Ngāti Porou and Tūhoe. That's how they survive, from food in the forest and like us here, from the ocean.”

Waititi, who lives in the East Coast settlement of Whangaparaoa, says the nearest supermarket is a 1.5-hour drive to his nearest supermarket.

“Kaore e tare te whai delta i roto i o mātou a tae ake rā ki ngā moana. Engari, ngā mea kei te whakarārāngi mai ki PaknSave ki New World, hika, ka nui ngā pōrearea ki konā.”

"You can’t catch Covid in the bush or the sea but, with people lining up at PAK'nSAVE and New World, it's more dangerous there."

At Alert Level 4, recreational fishing and whitebaiting is not allowed, except for Māori customary fishing and food gathering. If you are fishing or whitebaiting for this reason, you must:

  • keep it local and stick to your household bubble;
  • do not use a boat or go into the water to fish;
  • keep two metres away from others; or
  • do not do anything that may expose you to danger, or require rescue services.

Hipkins reiterated that the safety measures were for if people got in trouble, which added risk to the people who may be tasked with coming to their aid, should something go wrong

“Going out on the water, for example, if you got into difficulty, that would involve other people looking for you and having to come and rescue you. We’re saying to everybody, don’t undertake those activities.”

Waititi encourages whānau to continue their normal practices of gathering food. He added that the elders also appreciate and depend on the food source as well.

Kei te mōhio awahau etahi o ngā hapu i roto i ngā kāinga pēnei, kei te haere ki te tiki kai ki te tohatoha ki ngā pakeke.

"I know that some people at home here go and get food but also deliver to the local elders.

“Ko tāku kia rātou, he oranga ā kia haere tonu ngā mahi”

“What I say to them is to carry on in what they’re doing.”