The maritime exclusion zone at Whakaari/White Island will be removed by Bay of Plenty Regional Council Harbourmaster Peter Buell at 6pm tomorrow.
However the Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa advises the rāhui (temporary ritual prohibition) placed over the Ngāti Awa customary coastal marine area for fishing and gathering kai moana (seafood) remains in place until further notice.
A total rāhui (gathering kai moana, fishing and maritime activities) was applied by Ngāti Awa kaumātua last week out of respect for those who perished in last Monday's Whakaari tragedy, and those who were unaccounted for and could be in the ocean.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa chair and Ngāti Awa cultural expert Dr Hohepa Mason says because two victims are still unaccounted for and are possibly in the ocean the rāhui on fishing and gathering kai moana remains.
"Out of continued respect for those yet to be returned to their loved ones, and the cultural implications around the likely presence of tūpāpaku (deceased) in the moana (ocean), the Ngāti Awa rāhui in our rohe (Ngāti Awa tribal boundary) on collecting kai moana and fishing will remain in place until further notice".
Other maritime activities (swimming, kayaking and boating) not related to kai moana gathering and fishing would be permissible after 11am on Friday December 20.
There is no change to the rāhui status of Te Puia Whakaari (Whakaari/White Island), with Dr Mason stressing the island remains completely out of bounds. "Whakaari remains under rāhui and should be respectfully avoided at this time".
Dr Mason says Ngāti Awa acknowledge that while this is a traditional time of the year for fishing and gathering kai moana (seafood), the iwi (tribe) respectfully ask for the continued adherence to the kai moana rāhui in the rohe of Ngāti Awa and the rāhui over Whakaari.
"The general public and manuhiri (visitors) have been very respectful of our rāhui and we appreciate their dedicated observance of this Ngāti Awa tikanga".
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa will make further updates on the rāhui if there are any changes to the current situation.