22 Aug 2012

Paritutu rahui covers entire north Taranaki coast

7:45 am on 22 August 2012

Northern Taranaki iwi are asking the public to respect a rahui, or restriction, along the entire north Taranaki coast out of respect for the three people who fell off Paritutu Rock and died in the sea.

The body of Brazilian student Felipe Melo was found in the sea at Ngamotu on Sunday morning. The bodies of a fellow student and their climbing instructor are still missing.

Ngati Te Whiti hapu chairperson Trenton Martin says the rahui bans recreational activities such as fishing, swimming, boating and surfing until the other two bodies have been found, or when iwi decide to lift the ban.

Mr Martin says he and local kaumatua Rangikotuku Ritai put the restriction around Paritutu to acknowledge those who drowned in the area.

He says all of Te Atiawa's subtribes - including neighbours Ngati Mutunga and Ngati Tama - have banded together to extend the rahui right up to Parininihi or the White Cliffs.

The rahui especially forbids the gathering of kai mataitai or seafood.

Mr Martin says that because it has been publicised in local newspapers most people are respecting the ban.