Tuesday June 19, 2018   Last updated 20:27PM
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South Taranaki whale strandings to be lesson for all
Image Supplied: © Ngati Ruanui

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South Taranaki whale strandings to be lesson for all
NGATI RUANUI MEDIA RELEASE

Another sperm whale found stranded on Ngati Ruanui Hapotiki hapu in less than two weeks will be honoured with unique traditional processes.

Ngati Ruanui Rangatira Rukutai Watene said “This is the 13th whale, one of an unprecedented amount of young male sperm whale stranding along our coast in South Taranaki.

“We can’t determine what’s happening out in the ocean but we can learn to manage these losses in a way that brings to life cultural practices that honour and pay respect.

“We have invited Hori Parata and experts of Ngati Wai to educate and lead through this process.”

Ngati Wai are experienced in this role, having managed about 500 whale and dolphin rites throughout Aotearoa.

Te Runanga o Ngati Ruanui Kaiarataki Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said part of this journey would be returning to the past in order to understand the present.

“It is highly unusual and there is concern about a young healthy male pod washing up in these numbers.

“As it is the first in many of our lifetimes, the time is right to learn through this process, allowing traditions to continue with future generations and to understand more of what’s happening out there.”

Ngarewa-Packer said thanks to the support received from Ngati Wai and Nga Ruahine, Ngati Ruanui would work together caring for both the Tohora (whale) and each other.

“This is an intense process which we undertake with careful consideration. It takes many people to respectfully receive this precious gift named Utungia.”

The 11 metre-long male sperm whale was found on Friday June 08 at a remote location accessed on foot along the Waihi Beach coastline.

As the whale has chosen to rest on a rugged and often inaccessible section of Ngati Ruanui beach “Koutu” along the Waihi-Tangahoe coastline, Ngati Ruanui will be managing limited access.

The danger involved means only approved persons will have knowledge of the exact site. Ngati Ruanui will openly provide all communication throughout this process.

Many agencies are supporting this process including South Taranaki District Council, Taranaki Regional Council, Department of Conservation, Fonterra and ANZCO Foods.

ENDS

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