August 7, 2016
Tama is the name by which the baby orca who died on Saturday morning will be remembered by local iwi says Reon Tuanau of Ngai Te Rangi.
“Tama, the boy who clung to a buoy in the harbour is how we will remember him,” says Reon, who was one of the iwi representatives involved in the operation to rescue the young orca.
Known by a number of nick names including Bob, and Tiger, Reon says Tama is the name iwi have given him.
The orca died in a land based pool at Ongare Point in the early hours of Saturday morning despite the best efforts of a team of the world’s leading orca experts to save him. Before being brought ashore he had spent 21 days alone and close to a buoy just off Ongare Point.
Reon says a service was held for Tama at Ongare Point on Saturday afternoon and he was taken to be buried in a special place.
“We held a karakia for him and sent him off in the best way we knew how.
“He has been buried at a special site in the harbour where he will be respected and remembered.”
Reon says despite the sad outcome, there are a number of positives from the orca experience, including the way in which those involved worked together.
He has high praise for the orca experts and the Ongare Point Community too.
“We take a number of learnings away from this and I hope in future should another similar situation arise we can act more swiftly.
“One of the gifts this taonga, this orca, has given us is to highlight the needs to have more things in place so we can act more swiftly to do what is required.”