Two-year rāhui at Northland's Maitai Bay comes into force

A two-year rāhui on fishing and diving has come into force at Northland's popular Maitai Bay.

Ngāti Kahu and two local hapū - Te Whānau Moana and Te Rorohuri - held a ceremony early Wednesday morning at Maitai Pā.

"We've sung some waiata, sung some himine, and those appropriate kaumātua and kuia have provided karakia, as well as the tapu, for our moana," says rāhui coordinator Whetu Rutene. 

The no-take zone covers Maitai Bay, south to Waikato Bay, and extends out from the mouth of the harbour. 

It will last until March 2020, with the hope it will allow sea-life to recover.

Maitai Bay/Waikato Bay map.
Maitai Bay/Waikato Bay map. Photo credit: Newshub/Google Maps

The Ministry for Primary Industries supports the conservation initiative that the local community has taken, but won't be enforcing the ban. 

Spokesperson Steve Rudsdale says the area is in no more danger than other areas in the Far North.

Instead, locals are relying on an education campaign to get the message through. 

"Today, we are erecting our signs, meeting up with some of the campers who've already committed to camping for the season and having conversations with them," says Mr Rutene. 

Two traditionally carved pou have also been erected on Maitai Pā to act as symbolic protectors.

“On those pou, we have our tūpuna,” says Mr Rutene. “The first has Te Parata on the front and on the back is Tangaroa, the atua of our oceans.

"The second has Te Parata's wife Kahutianui on the front, and on the reverse, Hinemoana, the whaea of our moana."

"Together, they represent the people of this area and the ocean within that space."