Fears for future of Lake Tutira eels

Aroha Treacher
  • Te Tai Rāwhiti

He wairere kei te whakararu i te orangatonutanga o ngā tuna ki ngā wai o roto Tūtira i Te Matau a Maui. I haēre a Te Kāea ki te tirotiro i ngā kaupapa e whakamahia ana kia whai oranga ai te tuna ki reira.

Te ataahua hoki te o te waihirere nei, engari, kei te aukati te waihirere i te hokinga o nga ngāeroero ki te roto o Tūtira.

E ai ki tetahi kaipūtaia o te Kaunihera a Rohe o Te Matau a Māui a Andy Hicks, “We're hoping they'll be able to climb up and over the waterfall and get back into the lake like they have done for the decades before.”

Tata ki te rua tau ki muri kua whakaritea e ēnei taura nga taura rima tekau mita te roa hei āwhina i te haerenga o ngā ngāeroero ki te roto.

Hei tā Hoani Taurima nō te Ngāti Kurumōkihi, “The ultimate goal would be to populate our Lake Tutira with eels but we've got a problem, we've got big eels but no baby eels.”

Engari i tē kitenga atu ki ngā kupenga kāre he tuna i roto.

Hei tā Taurima, “It hasn't been too good today our baby eels weren't there, we've caught a koura and cocker buller, so no that good.”

Engari ehara tēnei mahi i te moumou wā, he nui ngā tuna ki roto i te awa o Orakai kei te taha o Tūtira.

Ki te kore ngā haura i te whai hua, ka nekehia e rātou ngā tuna mai te roto ki roto kē atu hei painga mō raurangi.

Hei tā Hicks, “Within 10 years at least we should start to see some larger eels in the lake if we can get the small guys in there.”

He mahinga ngātahi tēnei ki waenga i te kaunihera, iwi me Te Papa Atawhai hei whakakīkīhia anō ai ngā tuna ki te roto.

The future eel population of Lake Tutira in Hawke's Bay is under threat from a local waterfall. Te Kāea went to check out why and investigate what's being done to get the eels humming again.

It's a beautiful waterfall, but it's stopping elvers (young eels) from making their way back to Lake Tutira.

Hawke's Bay District environmental scientist Dr Andy Hicks says, “We're hoping they'll be able to climb up and over the waterfall and get back into the lake like they have done for the decades before.”

So, almost two years ago 50m spat ropes were installed to help those elvers make it to the lake.

“The ultimate goal would be to populate our Lake Tutira with eels but we've got a problem, we've got big eels but no baby eels,” says Hoani Taurima from Ngāti Kurumōkihi.

But after checking the nets and there is not an eel in sight.

Taurima says, “It hasn't been too good today our baby eels weren't there, we've caught a koura and cocker buller, so no that good.”

But it's not all doom and gloom, with sister lake, Lake Orakai showing promise.

If the spat ropes are unsuccessful, moving eels from one lake to another could be the answer for the future.

Hicks says, “Within 10 years at least we should start to see some larger eels in the lake if we can get the small guys in there.”

It's been a joint effort between the council, iwi and DOC to fill the lakes once again with eels.