November 17, 2014
Whale stranding becomes wananga
Bay of Plenty hapu Te Upokorehe has been working with whale expert Ramarie Stewart on how to deal with the consequences of the mass stranding of 41 pilot whales by Ohiwa Harbour.
Spokesperson Wallace Aramoana says the wananga, which was opened to other iwi along the coast, covered both traditional cultural practices around the stranding and safety aspects such as dealing with biohazards.
Working closely with the Department of Conservation and Project Jonah, Te Upokorehe whanau helped with the beaching, processing, and burial of the whales as well as hosting of the manuhiri, visiting iwi, central and local government staff and experts.
He says Te Upokorehe believe that toxins, along with the impact of sonar soundings, drilling, and other underwater activities could well have the guidance system of some whales to the point where the entire pod was at risk.
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