April 02, 2019
Pounamu and pollution from West Coast floods
The West Coast is cleaning up after 100-year floods, and for tangata whenua that means trash and treasure.
Francois Tumahai from Ngāti Waewae says coasters around Okārito south of Hokitika are trying cleaning rubbish spread up to 40 kilometres along the coast when the swollen Fox River breached an old tip.
On the Arahura River, while the pā on the northern side was relatively unscathed, farmers on the southern bank lost land, stock and fences, and further up the river a 66-year-old woman was killed when she was swept away by raging floodwaters.
"If you want to look at the bright side, what happens after a flood is all our whānau are on the Arahura River fossicking for pounamu so that is when you get out there so there is a horrific terrible side to it but on the other side there will be quite a bit of pounamu unearthed," Mr Tumahai says.
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