A very strange business, your rahui.
Conan Waihi, a 13-year-old Wairoa College student, has died while trying to rescue his “prized and expensive” basketball after it fell into the Wairoa River.
The youngster pursued the ball into the river but found himself in difficulty about 15m out from the bank. A friend jumped in to try to save him, grabbing his arm, but Conan slipped from his grasp.
Police divers found the youngster’s body at about 1.30pm yesterday.
Earlier in the day, kaumatua put a “rahui”, or ban, on a 2km stretch of the river.
Wairoa District Council Maori liaison officer Ropata Ainsley said he was relying on word of mouth to notify local fishermen, whitebaiters and water skiers who usually used the water.
The rahui would be in place for seven days, he said.
So there we have it. No fishing or whitebaiting for seven days.
Yet someone is quoted as saying –
“You see why he went for the ball. It was something that meant something to him.”
There’s no ban – so far as Alf can tell – on playing with basketballs, let alone on playing with basketballs that cost $200.
But it was chasing a basketball that led to Conan’s untimely death, not a mishap which occurred while fishing, whitebaiting or water ski-ing.