WARNING: Graphic content

An 11-year old boy was playing in rock pools when his foot was skewered by an old crayfish pot.

Dion Aupouri-Akuhata said his little brother Netana was playing with friends in the waters of Pouawa Beach, north of Gisborne, near the family's camp.


"Mum was standing onshore and she just heard screaming," Aupouri-Akuhata told the Herald.

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The family first thought a stingray had injured him, but found he had stepped on a discarded crayfish pot which pierced through his foot.

"It was hidden in the sand, I think the water was a bit murky. He just stepped straight on to it and it went through his foot," Aupouri-Akuhata said.

"They carried him out with the cray pot still attached, they didn't want to pull it out."

Ambulance staff cut it off the around Netana's foot, leaving the skewered rod in place until he reached Gisborne Hospital.

Another of Netana's brothers almost fainted as the rod was pulled out of his foot in hospital.

Aupouri-Akuhata, a commercial kina diver who featured in TVNZ's series Spiky Gold Hunters, wants to share dangers of discarded crayfish pots.

He arrived at the Pouawa camp only to hear his little brother had been taken away in an ambulance, but later saw the damage in a gory picture.

"When I saw the photos, I was like 'you're kidding me, that's right through his foot'."

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Eleven-year-old Netena Aupouri was rushed to Gisborne Hospital after he stood on a hidden discarded crayfish pot at Pouawa. Photo/ Supplied
Eleven-year-old Netena Aupouri was rushed to Gisborne Hospital after he stood on a hidden discarded crayfish pot at Pouawa. Photo/ Supplied

Netana has been in hospital since last Sunday.

"They won't release him until they know that tetanus isn't going to set in," Aupouri-Akuhata said.

His little brother can't feel his foot and can't walk, he said. The hospital is taking is recovery on a daily basis.

"This is what happens if you do leave your stuff in the ocean.

"I'm all for people gathering kai or seafood in any ways or manner they can, but at least take a little bit of time out of your day. If you do lose something, try your best to get it back.

"Don't leave your rubbish in the ocean."

Aupouri-Akuhata also shared a message on the Coasty_Kidds Facebook page, where he shares his ocean adventures and passion for diving.

It wasn't the first time he'd seen discarded fishing equipment. He says he regularly sees it when he's diving in Fiordland.

"When I go diving, I see a lot of pots that aren't retrieved, or they just can't be bothered, the rope snaps and that's the end of it.

"But I never expected it to be so close to shore where kids play."

A child playing in rock pools stepped on a hidden crayfish pot, which speared through his foot. Photo / File
A child playing in rock pools stepped on a hidden crayfish pot, which speared through his foot. Photo / File

His partner, Reremoana Sheridan, said the kids had been swimming and playing in the area for weeks with no problem.

"My 10-year-old was right next to him, so it could've been any one of the others there with him and it could've been any body part.

"You don't expect that to happen."

Aupouri-Akuhata said the children had found other dangerous rubbish on the beach this summer, such as discarded hooks in the seaweed.

"They could've gotten a hook through the finger."

People need to be more aware of the harm discarded equipment can have, he said.

"If they don't know that it's causing harm, a lot of the time you would think, 'oh, it's lost in the sea, it'll never harm anyone'. But actually, it does."

"It just adds to all of the junk in the sea."

For now, Netana won't be enjoying the last of the summer sun at the beach, but Aupouri-Akuhata said he's been getting treats brought to his bedside.

"He's getting ice cream and jelly and takeaways delivered to him, he's loving it."

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