Avana is abuzz as the ature arrive

Saturday April 18, 2020 Written by Published in Local
Tourism's Kia Orana ambassadors Aunty Nane and Aunty Lydia were among the grateful who showed up on time for freshly caught 'Ature fish' at Avana harbour. COOK ISLANDS TOURISM 20041732 Tourism's Kia Orana ambassadors Aunty Nane and Aunty Lydia were among the grateful who showed up on time for freshly caught 'Ature fish' at Avana harbour. COOK ISLANDS TOURISM 20041732

Ngatangiia is blessed with schools of ature bait fish swarming into its harbour to escape predatory bigger fish such as tuna – only to find themselves at the mercy of delighted locals.

Last year Avatiu harbour benefited from an abundance of Ature; this time, the fish seem to prefer Avana passage. The schools first appeared there a month ago.

A net is set out and the fish harvested at low tide.

Fisherman Steven “Captain Moko” Kavana says they shared fish to families in other villages, as there were plenty to give.

A week later, more people from the other side the island began to turn up for a taste of the seafood delicacy.

“In Avana, we have protocol in how we share our fish,” said Kavana.

“If you would like some, please help remove the fish from the net – gently as the head is quite fragile.

“Sometimes people don’t know how to take the fish off, so it’s quicker that we fishermen help out.

“We then pool all the ature together, and it is shared out evenly,” said Kavana.

“This is done to discourage people from walking away with too much, so we share the fish equally.”

However, people who turn up for the first time are also given fish, “and we encourage them to help out too, next time around.”

Kavana raised concerns that some receivers of the fish, were found to be selling it on the other side of the island, which is not on.

“We here in Avana, are disappointed at the behaviour of some people who are selling the ature we have shared to them to eat with their families.

“It's not a nice thing to do.”

In the old days schools of ature were a common occurrence at Avana; that’s why the 'pa' (rock fish traps) were built.

Kavana said: “There must be bigger fish lurking out there close by for the ature to swim in to find shelter.”

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