22 January 2016

A waka that overturned crossing the Whakatāne bar this morning has been successfully recovered.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council, the Department of Conservation, Waiotahi Contractors and local iwi have spent the day working together to lift the waka off rocks at the end of the spit, where it was left upside-down and stranded after overturning about 6am. Council senior maritime officer Joe Burke was first on the scene and helped the six passengers to safety with the assistance of local surfers and the Coastguard.

Council pollution prevention officer Jessica Hunter-Smith says everything went smoothly with the recovery and all the fuel on board has been accounted for, meaning the environmental effects are minimal.

“The response was outstanding. This is a great example of agencies and the community working together for a successful outcome.”

Bay of Plenty Regional Council has now towed the waka into the boat ramp, where it will be placed on the dry dock to await salvage plans.