A Rodney man is warning other holiday-makers to steer clear of Cable Bay after his family were allegedly threatened by young men claiming to be enforcing a rahui, declared after 54-year-old Wairongoa Clarence Renata died whilst trying to rescue his children.

The rahui, prohibiting swimming or taking seafood, covers the western end of the beach, from opposite the Cable Bay Store.

The visitor, who only wished to be identified as Dan, said he and his family had been threatened by young men enforcing the rahui.

They also claimed that the rahui prohibited playing on the beach.

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Until Monday evening, almost a week into the rahui, there were no signs advising that it had been imposed. No one seemed to know what activities it covered, or for how long.

The laminated signs that appeared on Monday had disappeared by Tuesday morning.
Dan said he knew about the drowning before his family arrived for their holiday on Thursday 4.

"I also knew the locals weren't swimming out of respect, which is fair enough," he said.

The family kept away for the first few days, then went to the beach about 5pm on Saturday for a game of touch. His group was approached by a man in his 20s, accompanied by two slightly older women, who used their phones to film beachgoers and told them to "clear off."

"He told us you can't swim here, you can't fish here, you can't play on the beach, so get out of here," he said.

When he asked when the rahui would be lifted the man was vague, saying it could be on January 26 or 30.

The family left the beach and called police to find out what their rights were, but didn't get a response.

On Monday afternoon his wife took their children, aged 2 and 3, to play in the stream at the eastern end of the beach. They were joined by four other children ranging in age from 4 to 8.

She was approached by another man, who told her to leave. His wife said they were only playing on the beach, not going into the sea, so they had every right to stay.

"He got right up in her face and told her to leave. He threatened to bring some more people to the beach to remove them. It smelt like he'd been drinking. The kids were pretty upset," Dan said.

At that stage he intervened, saying they would leave to keep the peace.

The enforcers did not seem to be official: "It looks like it's whoever's driving past at the time," he added.

He feared what might happen if visitors who were unaware of the rahui went for a swim, and was urging other holidaymakers to stay away.

He had no problem complying with a rahui, but was angered by the way his family had been treated and the fact that visitors had no way of knowing about it.

A notice on the Parapara Marae Facebook page states that local hapu have placed a rahui on part of Cable Bay, from the store to the Stratford Drive end of the beach, known as Owhetu. The notice states there should be no gathering of seafood or swimming within the area for two weeks, but makes no mention of playing on the beach. It does not apply to the busier, eastern end of the beach.

The rahui will be lifted on Thursday next week (January 18).