After shelling the päua flesh (the muscular foot) is eaten as a delicacy while the shell is used for decorative purposes.

Päua meat is exported and sold locally as both fresh and canned product. The päua shell is renowned for its decorative colouring and is used to make jewellery, as embellishment on wood articles and stationery, for art, and as polished shells. Cultured pearls from päua are also sold. Mäori value päua highly, both as a food source (meat) and for use in carving (shells).

Päua exports have increased since 1991 when they were $34 million, rising to a peak of $80 million in 2001, but have been declining since. Most of the exported päua in 2004 was in cans or jars (89 percent) with the rest exported either chilled dried, salted, in brine or live.

Information sourced from Statistics New Zealand. www.stats.govt.nz

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