Ngāti Awa Rāhui

Status: For immediate release

Date: 12 December 2019

Subject: Ngāti Awa Rāhui

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and Te Tapatoru a Toi Joint Management Committee request people to respect a rāhui (temporary ritual prohibition) placed over the tribe’s customary coastal boundaries as a result of the eruption at Whakaari / White Island.

The rāhui encompasses the Whakatāne, Ōhope and Ōhiwa coastlines, and Rurima, Moutohora and Te Puia ō Whakaari islands

Ngāti Awa rangatira Te Kei Merito says that while most Māori understand the purpose of a rāhui and naturally adhere to it, it is also important to convey the ethos of rāhui to the wider community so they might be more inclined to respect the prohibitive nature of the custom.

“There are a number of reasons to place a rāhui, and in this case the purpose is to acknowledge the fact that multiple people have already lost their lives as a result of the eruption. The application of rāhui in this instance is very much a sign of respect to those who lost their lives, and to their families;

“It is a very Māori – and in this case a very Ngāti Awa – way of expressing respect, sympathy and aroha in harrowing times such as these”

Neighbouring iwi, including Te Whakatōhea and Te Whānau a Apanui, have also placed rāhui over their customary coastal areas. This effectively represents a customary prohibition on all maritime activities for the whole of the Eastern Bay of Plenty coast. Mr Merito says he hopes the mana of the rāhui – and the iwi who have placed them  – will be respected.

“We would like to acknowledge our fellow iwi of the Mataatua confederation that have joined us in our efforts to apply tikanga Māori to this devastating situation, out of respect and reverence to all who are hurting as a result of this catastrophic tragedy. We implore people to venerate our rāhui, out of respect for the victims.”

The rāhui will be temporarily lifted to accommodate the eventual recovery operation from Whakaari. It has been confirmed that a Ngāti Awa tohunga – most likely Mr Merito – will accompany the recovery team to the island to conduct the necessary cultural imperatives and provide spiritual support to the recovery team

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:

Diane Berghan dberghan@gmail.com 021 221 5332

Statement from Paul Quinn, Chair of White Island Tours Limited

Status: For immediate release

Date: 11 December 2019

Statement from Paul Quinn, Chair of White Island Tours Limited:

“First and foremost, we would like to express our sorrow and offer condolences to those who have lost their loved ones following the eruption on Whakaari / White Island on Monday.

At this stage, recovery of loved ones who are still on the island is of paramount concern and all of our resources including vessels, protection equipment and personnel have been made available to NZ Police and Civil Defence to support the recovery mission.

For Ngāti Awa (tangata whenua of Whakatāne) our responsibility to provide care for our people and visitors during this difficult time is foremost in our minds and actions. We are focussed on wrapping the necessary support around affected families and staff, all of whom are understandably distraught.

Karakia (prayer) services are being held daily to give staff and affected families an opportunity to come together in our grief.

Local liaisons are being appointed to support overseas families who are arriving in Whakatāne. Support packages are being put together today including practical and useful items for those families as they await news and updates on the recovery mission.

We are committed to facilitating family members’ travel and other arrangements while we all await the return of loved ones to their families.

We would like to acknowledge the numerous offers of support from our community and also wider Iwi from across the country.

Ka nui te mihi ki a koutou katoa.

There are many questions that are left to be answered but our priority at this time is on the welfare of those affected.”

Paul Quinn.

 

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:

Diane Berghan dberghan@gmail.com 021 221 5332

Whakaari/White Island Emergency

Status: For immediate release Date: 9 December 2019

Subject: Whakaari/White Island Emergency

White Island Tours Limited, are deeply saddened following the significant eruption at Whakaari / White Island this afternoon.

Paul Quinn, Chairman for White Island Tours says, “Devastation is an understatement. This is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been impacted.”

White Island Tours Limited are currently assisting Police and Civil Defence with the official emergency response.

“We acknowledge the considerable efforts from Police and Civil Defence and will continue to do whatever is necessary throughout the rescue operation, says Paul.

Our immediate focus is on supporting our staff, manuhiri and respective whānau, who have been significantly impacted and are showing immense strength and courage.”

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:

Diane Berghan dberghan@gmail.com 021 221 5332