Whitebait season opens

By Wena Harawira

The whitebait season opens at 5am tomorrow and lovers of whitebait will be paying a premium price if they're not catching it themselves.

A kilogram of whitebait can fetch up to $150 for a kilogram.

Tūhoe kaumātua, Te Kanapu Tamaki, like many others, is only concerned with netting enough for a meal.

“A little pot is plenty for me, just enough for a fry up,” he said.

Te Kanapu has taken schoolchildren into the Urewera over the years to teach them about catching whitebait or mārearea as they call it.

“We fish between November and December, after whitebait season. At dawn, they start running and can be found in the shallows of the Whakatane River as they look for food.”

He hopes more adults will take the time to teach young people about the customary practices of gathering foods like whitebait.

“They only thing you use up is time and effort,” he said. “That’s better than paying a lot of money.”