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I lived in New Zealand for 7.5 years in the late 1980's. I learned about taniwha. A taniwha is always associated with water places as the unknowable and possibly terrifying guardian of these water places. They were NEVER described as eels. So I found this show somewhat upsetting at statements that seemed to equate taniwha and eels. Maori and pakeha (non-maori) eat eels in NZ happily. I doubt that Maori would eat a taniwha under any conditions - especially since you cannot "catch" one. The incident of the traffic problem seemed to be interpreted incorrectly. I do not doubt that Maori refused to work on the project after the "great eel" was found. I would interpret the eel to be a messenger, sign, omen of the taniwha that the sacred was being violated. The construction was tabu. That is why the Maori would not work on the construction. Is was not because the eel is any more (or less) sacred than any other animal that is eaten by Maori.