As people who use the ocean for fishing, diving and swimming, it is important that we show respect back to our waters, recognising that sustainable practices today can contribute to a bountiful harvest tomorrow.
Respect comes in many forms, such as avoiding damage to the environment caused by destructive fishing methods or harvesting only the amount of fish necessary to feed your whānau. A traditional Māori practice, known as rāhui, urges us to embrace a mindset of respect and conservation for our oceans.
A rāhui can be used to regulate human activity for the future wellbeing of the people and natural resources in our oceans. It can also protect us from health and safety concerns in the water.
A perfect example is the emergency rāhui laid by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei in September for the Waitematā Harbour as hundreds of litres of raw sewage entered the harbour. This chaos was caused by a sinkhole the size of a tennis court blocking a main sewage pipe in downtown Auckland. A bypass pipe has now been installed and the rāhui was lifted mid-November.
With an event of this magnitude, we can expect variable water quality before permanent repairs are made and the infrastructure is improved, so please stay alert to any future safety notices or rāhui.
It may seem like an inconvenience for your whānau having to travel further to cast a line or leap off the wharf on a hot summer’s day, but it’s crucial to honour the implementation of a rāhui. Its purpose is to protect you and the taiao, the environment, for now and for future generations.