Tau kōura is a traditional Māori fishing method commonly used to harvest kōura or freshwater crayfish in areas where they are abundant.
A variation of tau kōura which makes use of individual fern bundles is also used to harvest kōura (Paranephrops planifrons) and small fish (e.g. elvers and whitebait) in streams, rivers and the shallow shoreline areas of lakes, ponds and wetlands. These fern bundles are known as whakaweku in the Te Arawa and Taupō districts, and as koere and taruke in other areas.
Individual whakaweku can be used as a kōura monitoring tool and, like the tau kōura method, have significant advantages over other monitoring tools in many situations. A method for the use of tau kōura has been developed and is published on the NIWA website (link to updated protocol).
In particular whakaweku are suitable for use in non-wadeable streams and rivers, and by iwi and community groups who do not have access to electric fishing equipment. Trials in a number of Rotorua and Taupō streams and rivers have shown that whakaweku catch good numbers of kōura, without the sex and size biases of other sampling methods such as baited traps and nets and rama kōura (collecting kōura at night using spotlights and handheld dip-nets).