September 26, 2023
Media Release: Ngāti Tarāwhai Iwi Trust takes action to defend Lake Okataina from the invasion of golden clams
Ngāti Tarāwhai Iwi Trust takes action to defend Lake Okataina from the invasion of golden clams
“We can no longer wait for the invasive species of freshwater golden clam or corbicula fluminea to hitch a ride on a boat that has come from the Waikato river and enter our precious lake,” Ngāti Tarāwhai Iwi Trust, Chairperson Cyrus Hingston says.
“As the lake’s traditional owners and Kaitiaki, we are requesting that the lake be temporarily closed to all boat traffic as our first line of defence against this hard to eradicate monster, the thing is, if it gets there, will obliterate the delicate ecosystem of the aquatic environment including flora and taonga species,” Mr Hingston says.
“Once established in a water body, they are impossible to get rid of and can’t be eradicated. A single clam can produce 400 offspring per day, every day,” he warns. “That’s from one clam!”
The Ngāti Tarawhai Iwi Trust (the trust) has asked the Ministry for Primary Industries to publish a Controlled Area Notice right away.
The Te Arawa Lakes Strategy Group, Te Arawa Lakes Trust, Te Arawa Iwi leaders, and local community organisations have all met with the Trust, and it will continue to hold discussions with everyone who is interested in the lake’s protection and care.
“Lake Okataina is at the centre of our ancestral estate and is of great cultural, spiritual and ecological importance to the people of Ngāti Tarāwhai. We will not sit back and wait for our taonga to be further destroyed,” Ngāti Tarāwhai Iwi Trust, trustee Ruakiri Fairhall says.
“We are committed to safeguarding the unique beauty of Lake Okataina, the ecological balance, and the safety of everyone who cherishes and appreciates the unique nature of our taonga,” Mr Fairhall says.
“The fact is that protecting our lake will need a team effort, and we welcome participation and cooperation in this battlngati tarawhaie,” he says.