Kākahi

Ark of taste
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The Kākahi (Hyridella menziesi) is a freshwater mussel endemic to New Zealand, whose name derives from the Māori language. For centuries, this aquatic bivalve mollusc was an integral part of the staple diet in New Zealand. The mussels were mainly found in the shallower lakes such as Rotorua, Rotoehu, and Rotokākahi and sometimes collected from all the Te Arawa lakes with a wooden dredge or rake attached to a net. The best harvesting period was in winter. Besides its culinary uses, the kākahi also played an important social role, as its shell was used for cutting the umbilical cord of newborn children. It was also used for scraping vegetables and as rattles on kites.

Today, due to habitat destruction (river regulation, eutrophication and other types of pollution, degraded water quality, and loss of the host fish) the population number of kākahi has significantly decreased and the mussels are classified as "at risk".

The Kākahi mussels are eaten raw or lightly boiled. They can also be dried in the sun for use in stews.

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Territory

StateNew Zealand
Region

Bay of Plenty

Other info

Categories

Fish, sea food and fish products

Indigenous community:Māori
Nominated by:Clara Bocchio