Taranaki rāhui imposed after ashes scattered on food-gathering site

A Māori trust in Taranaki is outraged that a whānau scattered the ashes of a loved one in an area where locals gather food.

The Taranaki coast is an important site for fishing and seafood gathering, but a rāhui placed on the area means locals won't be able to collect food until further notice.

The Parihaka Papakāinga Trust only found out that ashes had been scattered on the site - without permission - when it was posted about on social media.

Chairperson Tina Mason says the person who announced they had spread ashes on the coast also imposed a rāhui from December 27 to January 10. 

She says individuals can't declare a rāhui - but now the trust has placed its own rāhui on the area.

"It shows how disconnected some of our Māori whānau can be with their local community, their marae and with tikanga practices."

Ms Mason says many in the community are upset because they gathered and ate food from the area before being told of the rāhui.

Kaumātua Te Whiti o Rongomai Mason says scattering ashes where people gather food is unheard of.

"This is the first time something like this has ever been on our beach. Especially an internment of ashes - it's not known even right around the whole of New Zealand. They don't do that."

He says the unfortunate situation is the result of "not listening to the older ones, especially within their family".

The affected area extends several kilometres along the coast, from Stent Rd to Te Puka Rd.

Ms Mason says the whānau has since apologised. In future she advises Māori to "consult with the right people" if in a similar situation.

"See your elders, your koros, your nans, your kaumātua, your marae, just to keep yourself safe."

The rāhui is likely to stay in place until the end of January.