Aug. 22, 2019, 1:35 p.m.
Whale strandings are a common occurrence on Northland beaches and far too many are being illegally butchered for their prized jaws and teeth. Ngātiwai kaumātua and whale expert Hori Parata warns of some of the dangers of committing such acts.
“We don’t treat any of that lightly. As Māori we don’t just go physically into dealing with a whale you want te ao wairua there as well”.
“It’s respect really, respect for the dead”.
The penalty for taking any part of a Tohora or any other protected marine mammal without a permit carries a fine of $250,000 or two years in prison under the Wildlife Act.
Parata also talks about the health and safety warnings concerning a washed up tohora that may have died at sea before coming ashore.
“While the whale is decomposing it’s thick blubber causes the whale to cook internally it is important to be aware of how dangerous those pathogens and bacteria are”.
The harvesting rights of Māori over dead whales have been officially recognised since 1998. Since then Hori and his team have been asked to bring their knowledge and expertise to many coastal iwi and hāpu all over Aotearoa and wānanga flensing protocols whenever our tuakana the tohora comes home.