Story: Rivers

Lamprey weir

Lamprey weir

This large lamprey weir (utu piharau), photographed in the 19th century, is at Pungarehu on the Whanganui River. Māori were skilled at building such weirs – fence-like structures that stretched across part of the river’s current. At intervals along the weir there were outlets with nets, which would trap any lamprey swimming upstream. Lamprey and other freshwater fish were an important food for Māori living beside rivers.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, F. J. Denton Collection
Reference: 1/1-000482; G
Photograph by Frank J. Denton

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

David Young, 'Rivers - Māori and rivers', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 12 August 2020)

Story by David Young, published 24 Sep 2007