Concerns after 1080 drop result in rahui extension by Maori trust
Concerns about the impact of the recent 1080 drop on the region's waterways is behind a Maori trust's decision to extend a rahui it declared in August.
The Ngatiawa ki Taranaki Trust originally announced the rahui following the disappearance of Matt Smith. He and a friend were checking on cray pots off Port Taranaki when their boat was hit by a large wave and capsized. While the friend was able to swim to shore and raise the alarm, Smith's body has never been found.
However, on Sunday trust spokesman Robbie Taylor said while the rahui concerning Smith would be lifted on December 23, a concurrent ban related to the 1080 drop would be in place until April next year.
Taylor said the dumping of the 1080 pellets on Mt Taranaki, which began earlier this month, had raised fresh concerns about the health of the land and its waterways.
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"It's just about keeping people safe," he said.
Earlier this month, Ratapiko School cancelled an overnight camp because of the 1080 drop on Mt Taranaki.
Principal Lisa Hill pulled out of the planned trip to the Waingongoro Hut as she did not want the students in her class to be exposed to the poison, which is designed to kill pests like rats, stoats and possums.
A rahui is based on Maori tikanga and is a customary practice which prohibits access to an area and its resources. It is often put in place when there is a death involved and is performed out of respect for the family.
The Ngatiawa ki Taranaki trust rahui relates to the stretch of coastline between New Plymouth's Back Beach to the Mokau River.
The policing of the rahui was done on an informal basis but signage had been installed along the coastline and near rivers he could access, Taylor said.
Taylor said he recently met with Smith's family which gave him a chance to discuss the reasons why the rahui was put in place.
He said the teen's family had been thankful for the trust's efforts.