Whakatāne fishing and tour operators are losing thousands of dollars a day due to restrictions put in place following the Whakaari/White Island eruption.
As they head in to what is usually their peak season, they're anxiously waiting to hear more details about the relief package being offered to small businesses in the new year.
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Soon after the eruption happened, Ngāti Awa and neighbouring iwi placed rāhui on their coastlines.
Currently, while two bodies are still missing they remain in place and were bestowed to respect those who lost their lives and their whānau as well as protecting the mauri or life-force of the area where their bodies are at rest.
But the restrictions were having an impact on local businesses that relied on the sea.
With only a week until Christmas, Whakatāne's main street was a hive of activity this morning. It was usually a busy time of the year for the bait and tackle shop, Fishing and More, but today it was empty.
Shop owner Neil Cook said it has been like that every day for the past week.
"It's the lack of sales for basically everything. So many people can't go fishing. At this time of year I buy in so much product, and it's all just sitting here."
Cook said he was losing around $1,000 a day in lost sale. He hoped he would be eligible for some of $5 million in relief funding announced by the government yesterday.
"The biggest thing is that rāhui. I can understand it being on, and I respect that, but now it's probably time to lift it for the local coast and leave it at White Island," he said.
Diveworks Charters runs tours to nearby Whale Island but its boats have been docked for the last week.
Owner Phil van Dusschoten welcomed the relief package. The two weeks before Christmas were usually their busiest and the company was losing more than $2000 a day, with four staff now without work.
"It is something we will probably need to look at. The bills are still coming in...but I don't know how it will extend to casual staff who would ordinarily be employed right now."
He could not take any more bookings until the rāhui was lifted, he said.
That uncertainty is also affecting The Gambler Fishing Charters owner Mick Goodin, who normally took clients fishing around White Island. He has had to cancel the last six days and all bookings for this week.
"We certainly respect the dead, and we have a lot of days ahead of us yet but the unknown factor is when the rāhui will be lifted. Certainly, in the meantime it's a financial burden. My deckies have no work and we have all got bills to pay.
Like others, he welcomed the relief package but was waiting to hear the details and he hoped it would allow him to pay staff that were now going without wages, he said.
Goodin, whose boat was the first to reach the island after the eruption, said it had been a traumatic experience for those first responders dealing with the injured.
"We just offered as much comfort as we could, gave them as much freshwater as we could to wash the wounds of the injured people...they had terrible burn marks.
"The stress factor of this has been huge and I know for some people it's really taken its toll."
When the restrictions were lifted he and other boat operators were offering to assist families in any way they need, he said.
The iwi were expected to release an update on the rāhui tomorrow.