Pou set up to guard Warrington kai moana

Georgia Manera (22), of Haast, and Angus Mackenzie (21), of Dunedin, walk past the new pou at Warrington Beach, which represents Tangaroa, the guardian of the ocean. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Georgia Manera (22), of Haast, and Angus Mackenzie (21), of Dunedin, walk past the new pou at Warrington Beach, which represents Tangaroa, the guardian of the ocean. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
A traditional carved Maori marker post has been erected on a beach north of Dunedin in a bid to curb illegal fishing in the area.

East Otago Taiapure management committee chairman Brendan Flack said the Warrington community was concerned about the continued non-compliance of groups taking the ''kai moana [seafood] resources'' there - particularly paua, mussels and cockles.

Waitati sculptor Alex Whittaker contacted the committee, offering to create a Maori marker - pou - to discourage poaching of sealife in the area.

''It was in response to continued illegal fishing in the Warrington area,'' Mr Flack said.

The pou represented Tangaroa, the guardian of the ocean.

''He stands there as a guardian, to make people think about their actions. Rather than a sign with a lot of words on it, this is another form of communication.''

The pou is one of four carved by Mr Whittaker and erected on the Otago coastline.

The other three stand at Waikouaiti, Karitane and Purakaunui.

He said the poles were installed following discussions with the Ministry for Primary Industries.

It was believed the pou, combined with MPI signs, presented a more powerful message.

''In days gone by, everyone knew not to take seafood from sites where they saw pou.

''But these days, I guess it's a way to make people think about their actions and how they might impact on others and the natural environment.

''It's not just about how it affects people, but affecting resources and the natural balance.''

The pou was given a Maori blessing on Sunday.

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