A Far North kaumatua has apologised for the aggressive reaction to a holidaying family accused of breaching a rahui at Cable Bay.
Aputerewa Marae kaumatua Glen Larkin, one of the elders who imposed the rahui, said those who had confronted the visitors had not been “official” people and their attitude had not been appropriate.
The holidaymaker, who would give his name only as Dan, said he did not have an issue with the rahui, imposed after the death of 54-year-old Wairongoa Renata, who had gone to the rescue of his children.
However, there had been no information about what the rahui allowed and what it didn’t, or what part of the beach it covered.
When the Rodney man’s family went to the beach for a game of touch they were approached by a man and two women, who filmed them with their phones and told them to “clear off.”
They were told they could not swim, fish or play on the beach. The official rahui made no mention of playing on the beach.
Two days later Dan’s wife took their two children to play in a stream, where they and four other children were again told to leave by a man who threatened to have them removed if they didn’t go voluntarily.
The man had got “right into” his wife’s face, Dan said, and smelled as though he had been drinking.
Mr Larkin said none of those efforts to enforce the rahui were proper or sanctioned. He accepted that there had been a lack of information for the public but rahui in response to a death could not be planned.
Signs had been put up during Mr Renata’s tangi as a gesture of respect. The rahui was lifted after five days.
Mr Larkin thanked the great majority of people, locals and overseas visitors alike, who had respected the rahui.
The marae could not monitor everything but the behaviour complained of “makes it bad for all of us”.
The great majority of people had been “awesome” but there was work to do to get the message out to the wider community about the cultural significance of rahui and the details of what they did not permit.
Source : New Zealand Herald