Hapū voice heard on Te Oneroa a Tōhē

Mussel spat collectors arriving with heavy machinery in the last significant spat fall on the southern end of Te Oneroa a Tōhē, met with Ahipara locals saying ‘no more’ to mechanical harvesting. 

Following discussions with Te Rarawa hapū members and hearing concerns around mechanical harvesting, spat collectors agreed to harvest by hand, leaving heavy machinery parked on the beach.





The use of mechanical harvesting became a controversial issue when footage emerged in August of heavy vehicles collecting spat mechanically at Ahipara on Te Oneroa a Tōhē, Ninety Mile Beach. Locals said they’d had enough of the disturbing use of heavy machinery on their beaches, and damage caused to shellfish beds. 

 “For us it’s about respecting our foreshore and seabed and keeping with sustainable practices that preserve our taonga and moana,” Ahipara local of Te Rarawa, Patau Te Pania said. 

“We’re not going to allow all that machinery to come down onto the beach anymore,” he said 

Hapū have asked that collectors no longer use mechanical harvesting methods south of Waipapakauri.

“This has always been our pātaka kai, our food basket. And the practice has a huge impact across Te Oneroa Tōhē,” he said.  

The solution reached between hapū and spat collectors in the most recent spat fall has been amicable and a positive result said Te Rarawa Chairman, Haami Piripi. 

“We stand by our hapū in their decision to make a stand on this issue and will continue working with industry and iwi representatives to establish acceptable industry standards of practice in our rohe,” he said.