Toheroa Clam

Ark of taste
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The Toheroa is a large bivalve mollusc which is endemic to New Zealand. It is mainly seen in the most northerly part of the west coast of North Island but it is also sometimes available on South Island. Many experiments have been undertaken to transplant this edible marine clam to other similar beaches but these attempts have not been successful.

The Toheroa has always been highly appreciated by the indigenous Polynesian people, the Māori, and it is a part of their staple diet. It is said to be the richest of all shellfish in terms of vitamin and mineral content.

As its meaning in the Māori language "long tongue" suggests, it has an unusual long white tongue of tough flesh, and some say that it resembles the human tongue. It has a solid white, elongated shell with the apex in the middle, usually three or four inches long and two and half an inch wide. The mollusc inside the shell is green and plump.

In the past, the Toheroa was a very popular seafood. However, overfishing in the 1950s and 1960s almost led to its extinction, and there is now a complete ban on its harvesting.

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Territory

StateNew Zealand
Region

Taranaki

Tasman

Other info

Categories

Fish, sea food and fish products

Indigenous community:Māori
Nominated by:Chloé Fadoul