Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tidal Gathering

Oreti Beach, Invercargill, South Island. 2008. Ajr
And so to toheroa gathering - that magnificent big shellfish now only gathered in patches off the Southland coast - and only then by Maori customary fishing rights. Our mission: to write about toheroa, photograph toheroa, cook toheroa, eat toheroa - but not necessarily in that order - for Ngai Tahu's magazine, TE KARAKA. We bundled three kaumatua (tribal elders) of Murihiku Marae into our saucy blue car and headed for Oreti Beach. In a wide expanse of endless white sand beach, they knew exactly where to look, exactly where the toheroa beds lay and within minutes we had dug a handful from the wet sand. Half the pleasure of eating toheroa is in the digging," they laughed. "And there's nothing better than eating them fresh and raw, straight from the sand, with juice running down your wrists. It's the joy of the hunt."

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