Tuna are struggling – there are numerous threats and rapid changes occurring in their habitats. Te Wai Māori have teamed up with Lamp Studios to raise awareness of the pressures on tuna. We’re producing a series of short documentaries, each focussing on a rohe, a roopu and an issue that threatens the tuna who live there.

In early November, we filmed the first documentary in Turanga-nui-a-Kiwa (Gisborne) with Ian Ruru, his son Kahu Ruru, Matua Ray Farmer and students from Te Karaka Area School. We joined them as they checked on the health and wellbeing of tuna by visiting the local awa to monitor the water quality and catch tuna – like they do most weeks.

Down at the coast where the Waipaoa River enters Te Moananui a Kiwa, an old landfill site built on the site of Te Pā o Kahu, is leaching toxins into the awa. Both water quality and tuna are in decline “We aren’t catching many and when we do catch them, they’re sick,” says Kahu Ruru.

“It’s not a unique situation,” says Matua Ian Ruru. “There are other places, down in Southland, that are having similar issues with the consequences of poor waste management.”

When it’s released, the mini documentary will tell the story of Te Pā o Kahu, the consequences of bad waste management and what the tamariki in Turanga-nui-a-Kiwa would like to see for the future.

Next, we’ll be travelling to other parts of the motu to hear about other issues affecting tuna, including decreased water quantity, and the destruction of wetland habitats. Stay tuned e te whānau!