Regional | Māori

Far north rāhui lifted for kina cull

Te Whānau Moana and Te Rorohuri from Whatuwhiwhi in the Far North have briefly lifted a rāhui on their moana to undertake a kina cull because the kina are overwhelming other sea life on the Karikari Peninsula.

The rāhui, which was established at Maitai Bay on the east coast of the Far North in 2017, was lifted for three hours for the cull and locals say it’s an important step to entice wildlife like snapper and kelp to return to their bay.

Hina Raharuhi from Te Whānau Moana and Te Rorohuri says that although the cull lasted only three hours, there were over 1000 kina either taken or smashed open.

“I would have done about 500. I brought back a sack but I counted about 500 of them.”

Kataraina Rhind from Te Rangi i Taiawhiaotia Trust says the rampant population of kina is killing off sea kelp, which in turn is forcing snapper and other fish species to find other areas to dwell.

“We’ve got a kina barren in the place, ok? Thousands and thousands and doing a rough count of what’s coming through, it’s just a carpet of kina.”

A kina barren is an area that has been depleted of all life except for kina. This is largely due to overfishing and the rapid reproduction of kina as sea temperatures rise. Kina barrens can devastate entire coastlines.

Trust chair Whetu Rutene says it’s imperative that iwi take a proactive part in maintaining balance.

“For our tāmure and our kōura, the idea is to encourage our tāmure to come back and to take residence here. So that they are able to be in their natural environment and help control the overpopulation of kina.”

“Our job is to help control that, to make sure that there is some balance there.”