Post-tragedy rāhui raises questions (which media prefer not to ask) about what it means

Whether tourists should have been allowed to visit Whakaari-White Island in the past and whether tourists should be allowed to visit in future are among the questions inevitably raised in the aftermath of the tragic volcanic eruption this week.

Concerns have extended beyond the operations of White Island Tours, which is owned by Ngāti Awa Holdings, to all adventure tourism.

The effects of the prohibition imposed in the form of a rāhui – does this amount to a ban on tourism, what authority does it have and for how long will it remain in place? – seem to have have gone unquestioned.

The rāhui ceremony was performed by Whakatane District Council pou tikanga Pouroto Ngaropo.

According to a Newsroom report, Ngaropo said the rāhui covers the island and the waters around it.

The report did not mention a time frame.

It did suggest a rāhui is much more potent than a council sign that says:  “Danger – keep out” or “Trespassers will be prosecuted”. Continue reading “Post-tragedy rāhui raises questions (which media prefer not to ask) about what it means”