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  • Pāua on a rock.
    Rights: Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Published 31 August 2022 Size: 2.9 MB Referencing Hub media

    Pāua are large sea snails found in shallow coastal waters on rocky shorelines. They survive by having a hard shell and clinging to rocks with a large muscular foot. Pāua are highly valued as kaimoana and are important for manaakitanga ki ngā manuhiri (hosting of visitors). The shells, which have a blue-green iridescence on the inside, are used for creating ornaments and fish hooks and are added to carvings.

    Blackfoot pāua (Haliotis iris) are the most commonly found and caught species. Yellow-foot pāua (Haliotis australis) are only caught in small numbers. Pāua have small home ranges, and seeding has been used to help restore populations.

    Related resources

    Ngāi Tahu Mahinga Kai video

    • Pāua – featuring Khyla Russell and Brendan Flack, pāua protectors who live by the Karitane coastline north of Dunedin
    • Download a PDF of the video transcript here


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