Paua shells: blue and purple beauties

 

I lived in New Zealand for two years on the North Island, although we did hire a campervan and travelled around both islands for a bit.

One of my favourite things about New Zealand are the beautiful Paua shells, and digging in the backyard we literally found hundreds and hundreds of them just below the surface of the soil. I was told that that area in the past would have been a feasting ground, where the Maori people would harvest the Paua (these are big abalones!) from the sea, cook them and have a giant feast together.

The Paua shell is beautiful on the inside, all purple and blue iridescence, but craggy and rough on the outside unless it is cleaned. And they grow up to 18cm!

Sometimes it's hard to believe that the abalones, basically just a large muscular foot or tongue, can just hang on to rocks in the surf.