Matt Barnett DOC’s Community Relations manager DOC has told the Independent: “DOC met this week with Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai. The whale taonga (treasuer) is in the possession of that iwi.
“They are working on ensuring the jawbone and teeth are appropriately cleaned and prepared.
“DOC will meet again with the Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai Trust to insure the appropriate permit documentation is completed.”
In his statement earlier this week, Cr Gurunathan said rumours were circulating amongst sections of the local iwi that some of the valuable teeth of the 15-tonne sperm whale, which beached at Paraparaumu Beach on January 16, had gone missing.
Following this, George Jenkins, Whakarongotai Marae chairman, George Jenkins said it was ‘a sensitive issue.'”The teeth are not missing; we believe we know where they are,” he said.
“It is an internal matter.”
Editor’s note: Under the Marine Mammals Protection Act, DOC is responsible for issuing permits for the removal of any material from such mammals. Removal can be for scientific and cultural reasons.