Story: Coastal shoreline

Collecting toheroa (1st of 2)

The large, sand-burrowing shellfish known as toheroa made such good eating (usually as a soup) that New Zealanders consumed them faster than the species could breed. From 1932 until 1993 the government imposed restrictions on harvesting, but these measures were not enough to halt the decline. When it was legal to harvest toheroa, thousands of New Zealanders would descend onto west coast beaches to dig for the elusive shellfish. This scene was photographed at Ninety Mile Beach in 1959. Listen to Mrs A. Harding describe how the influx of cars led to the demise of toheroa.

Sound file from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero (Toheroas/Reference number T29)

Using this item

Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira
Reference: H539

Permission of the Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Maggy Wassilieff, 'Coastal shoreline - Sandy beaches – lower shore', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/speech/4857/collecting-toheroa (accessed 30 March 2020)

Story by Maggy Wassilieff, published 12 Jun 2006