A four-day rāhui has been put in place in an area of ocean and foreshore in front of the Whakatāne headlands following the death of a person on Sunday night.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Chairman Joe Harawira says the rāhui would begin today (Monday, January 31) and run through until Thursday (February 3).
A rāhui, or ban, is a cultural practice that restricts the access to, or use of, an area and its resources. In in this case, access to the area from the Whakatāne headlands to, but not including West End beach, and its resources has been restricted for four days. The rāhui area is indicated in the attached map and includes Ōtarawairere bay.
Mr Harawira says there have been too many drownings this summer with New Zealand recording the highest number of deaths in the country’s waterways and this latest incident has added to that mamae.
He offered condolences to the person’s whānau on behalf of the Rūnanga and asked that people adhere to rules of the rāhui as way of respecting their grief and Ngati Awa cultural practices.
“We are the kaitiaki of this rohe (area) and our cultural practices dictate that we must instill a rāhui when something like this happens to keep everyone safe, but this also allows us to show respect to the grieving family. Our thoughts go out to this person’s whānau at this time.”
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Manager Taiao
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