Thursday, February 12, 2009
I was transfixed the day I visited The Box at the Waihao River mouth just south of Waimate to see whitebaiters from the local Maori community at work. The seas were a bubbling, boiling mass of foam, the sudden waves unpredictable and dangerous; yet the whitebaiters waded in at just the right moment - a trick born of experience no doubt - and scooped their nets to catch those little silver slithers of fish most New Zealanders are willing to pay huge money for. The folks at the Waihao Marae are spoiled for choice when it comes to their favourite kaimoana (seafood). The area has long been a food basket for the local people and they still harvest tuna (eel), patiki (flounder, cod, whitebait and many other fish species.