Sunday, 22 March 2009


We made a decision a couple of days ago to head to the muttonbird island with Ma and Pa - Dad is 72 and mum is coming up 69.

We love the island - it has a white sand beach , more often than not occupied by Hooker's Sealions and has some really good Blue Cod fishing patches. We can set a net for a feed of greenbone and dive for a feed of paua.
And then of course there is the muttonbird harvest itself - An ancient hunt that is locked into our genes despite the fact that the last full blood Ngai Tahu was 6 generations back. Go figure.

Anyway after all the crap between the factions who are fighting for supremacy at the Ngai Tahu governing body Te Runanga O Ngai Tahu we think that for the last ten years TRONT, as it is known, has done bugger all for us. Then again we never expected it to. We receive regular monthly newsletters about what each runanga is doing and we find that a good way to find out just what the cousins are doing at home. They are the Ahi Kaa - the ones who keep the home fires burning.

And we get the less frequent Te Karaka - which is a glossy mag that looks at some of the achievements of the tribe. There are some good ones.

And then there is Whai Rawa the Ngai Tahu Superannuation Fund. It will be interesting to see how this is managed in these financially troubled times.
Oh and dad gets a few hundred dollars at Xmas for being an old Ngai Tahu bugger - and being on a pension he looks forward to a wee bit of spare cash.
So not a lot in it for us really. But back to the muttonbird islands.

Our business is strong enough that we can afford to take ten days off and fly there and back in a chopper.

We have worked long and hard to get to that position. We have often wondered if Ngai Tahu would come calling for our business expertise but they never have - we reckon its because we don't do sychophancy very well.

Our focus of the next 6 weeks will be getting fit for the Muttonbird season, that is going to be a very big ask because , not to put too finer point on it,we are way too big.

It may well be the last year for us - Mum and Dad will probably put our little family hut and work house up for sale. So despite all the things the tribe is doing the only real payback we have had from being Ngai Tahu is that it has allowed us to go the island, harvest muttonbirds, practice all the things that have been handed down over generations, and build up a very small asset.
And its for the likes of the two boys in the top picture - one is son of BB and a helicopter pilot/instructor and the other is cousin Storm a young fisherman - one of the stars of the Million dollar Catch.

Both of them have got to where they are without the help of the tribe.

Somehow that seems so much more impressive than building $52million dollar office blocks with money that was given by the government for the wrongs perpetrated on a previous generation.
This generation didn't earn it and now it cant even play with it nicely.

Maybe its time for those at the table to go out and spend some time making money in the real world where the only dollar you get to spend is the one you earn.


Oswald Bastable said...

Never eaten muttonbird.

I haven't seen it in the shops for years...


Oh and can you eat pukeko?


what's it taste of?

Anonymous said...

Oswald, any decent fish shop has them. Moore Wilson's if you are in Wellington (after all Pacific Catch there fish bar is owned by Ngai Tahu Seafoods)

FAIRFACTS MEDIA, my Mother describes them as like being crossed between a duck and an anchovy.

BB, Helicopter! Geetting sofft and lunching and drinking too much with Wellington latte horis. Kia ora Cuzz