This 1843 watercolour, by an unknown artist, depicts Māori drying fish on poles. The fish appear to be mainly barracouta, with a few rays and snapper. Māori were not preservationists; they conserved resources so that they could use them in the future. Fishing pressure may have affected fish stocks in localised areas. Fishing was mostly done close to shore and in harbours and estuaries, but waka (canoes) also ventured more than 16 kilometres offshore to fishing grounds for species such as hāpuku. Māori had a complex system for managing fisheries, with restrictions on what they could catch, and other rules. Listen to a Ngāti Toa elder explain how his tribe and others bartered and gifted different kai moana (seafood).
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 (Insight 88 - Māori fisheries/Reference number T7496).
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Alexander Turnbull Library
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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