Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Maitai

The Maitai River, Nelson, South Island, NZ

Maitai River

Maitai River and The Bryant Range

These river views are directly outside my family's home in Nelson. This is the beautiful Matai River, which flows for seven miles through the hill country to the west of The Bryant Range, through the city and right through to the Tasman Bay. The river is generally shallow enough to walk across and is a great recreational place for children and fishermen. Further downstream is the Great Maitia River Dam, constructed to supply fresh water to the whole city.

Each morning I see fishermen on the banks trying to catch the whitebait, a local delicacy. These 'whitebait' are not the same as we have in UK but more like an 'elver' -  very small and see-through. White strips of plastic are placed in the river and when the shoals swim across they are caught with a net by the fishermen. They are then sold to the local fish markets and restaurants where they are cooked into fritters, a local delicacy.

There is a very limited season for whitebait (15th August until 30th November) to try and preserve the fishing stocks, which are low due to over fishing and pollution of their natural habitat.

English whitebait are small herrings or sprats and are deep fried whole, also a delicacy, but much more acceptable to the eye!

Whitebait fishing in the Maitai

Whitebait UK
 Via Google

Whitebait NZ
Via Google

Not any similarities there that I can see other than they are both a type of fish!

Whitebait fritters NZ
Via Google

Fried whitebait UK
Via Google


  1. Love the music
    New Zealand looks amazing, great picture well done.

  2. What a peaceful looking river, you seem to be visiting at a lovely time of year. You don't often see whitebait in the UK now do you, perhaps they've been overfished too.

  3. Beautiful....looks like you are having a great time!


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