Ngāti Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board has issued a statement in support of the Waitahānui rāhui. Ngāti Tūtemohuta, the Taupō hapū that imposed the rāhui, did so to protect Waitahānui from Covid-19, the trust board says.
“The people of Ngāti Tūtemohuta have shown wisdom in ‘going early and going hard’, to use the Prime Minister’s words, to take steps to protect their families and the Waitahanui community,” Ngāti Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board Chairman John Bishara says.
He acknowledges the desires of the public to go fishing, however, the chairman says the risks that Ngāti Tūtemohuta have to contend with in imposing a rāhui to keep their kaumātua safe is something that most communities do not have to deal with.
Fortunately, Bishara says, the largest lake in Aotearoa has plenty of alternative fishing spots, spots that are more secluded and safer and places where one can feed their whānau without placing the elders of Ngāti Tūtemohuta at risk.
“As authorities and governments around the world encourage people to look after themselves, the Trust Board’s view is that Ngāti Tūtemohuta’s actions are a responsible exercise of kaitiakitanga. The haūu has acted prudently with the best interests of the people at heart,” Bishara says.
He adds that Ngāti Tūtemohuta is not acting alone. They are just one part of the Taupō Moana community doing their part to keep the rohe safe. He concluded his statement by saying that in a global pandemic a rāhui should be the least of our worries.