On the tail of the tuna: kōrero about eeling

CoverThe theme for this year’s Records and Archives week  is “From the hāngī pit to the Weetbix Kid: Recording the history of food in New Zealand.”  As a child and teen I spent quite a bit of time down south in Mataura during school holidays.  Alongside fishing for trout with the family, one of the other things we often used to do was to set out at night on a mission to catch tuna (eel).

My cousins and I and some of the local kids would get all kitted up and head off, five or six of us with torches in hand on a mission down to the river.  We weren’t always successful – usually just the fun of going on an eel tromp was a reward in itself, even if we didn’t end up coming home with anything.

People have been eeling for hundreds of years, and luckily, we have some recordings of people recalling their experiences.

Have a listen to this kōrero about eeling from Wairewa Marae at Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere):

Or try Cath Brown’s reminisces about eeling at Ngāti Moki Marae.

These recordings are one of the many ways we can document material so that future generations can have access to such wonderful taonga.

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