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World First: Hanging Mussel Taura in Ōkahu Bay

Press Release – Ngati Whatua o Orakei

World First: Hanging Mussel Taura in Ōkahu Bay, July 20, 3pm

Combining mātauranga (traditional knowledge), science and aquaculture, the hanging of mussel taura (rope) into Ōkahu Bay will be the first of its kind in the world. “The strength of this technique is the ability to show a dual-world process. We respect all values and methodologies in an emerging marine restoration movement. Innovative relationships between Maori and agencies is the key for success” says Programme Manager Richelle Kahui-McConnell.

Weaving together traditional and aquaculture industry techniques will provide the best of both worlds for rope that will be seeded with mussels to be hung from the pylons of Ōkahu Bay wharf. This taura (rope) is intended to seed larger amounts of mussels into the bay over time by avoiding the sea floor which is covered in sediment.

With a vision to return the mauri (essence of life) back to the marine environment a 3-year mussel reef restoration programme in Ōkahu Bay has attempted to bring back historical mussel beds. Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei have committed themselves to returning the whenua (land) and moana (water) back to healthy state for 15 years through their planting of 220,000 trees on the whenua (land). “Protection of our waters and providing a future for our whanau is paramount for us, our daily connection with the moana recognises our ancestors and their kaitiakitanga” (guardianship) says Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei descendant, Donna Tamaariki.

A single mussel has the ability to filter up to 350 litres of water every day and mussel beds provide habitat and food for fish populations. The mussel taura (rope) has been woven by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei weavers who have harvested the harakeke (flax) from their ancestral whenua (land). With support from the University of Auckland, the Outboard Boating Club, the New Zealand Underwater Association, the Ōkahu Landing and the Ōrākei Local Board great strides forward in marine restoration will be undertaken in a ceremony on July 20th at 3pm on Ōkahu Bay wharf.

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