Blackfoot paua (rainbow abalone) shell, New Zealand
© Lynda Harper/Minden Picture
Info. Blackfoot paua (rainbow abalone) shell, New Zealand
There are more than 100 abalone species (small sea creatures you can eat) in oceans around the world, but the blackfoot paua (also known as rainbow abalone) is one of the largest and is found only in New Zealand's waters. The Indigenous Māori people have long prized its black flesh as a delicacy and now others are discovering its distinct flavour, particularly in Asia, where the blackfoot paua attracts big prices at seafood markets. After harvesting the abalone meat, the Māori use the colourful shells like the one in our photo as decorations in traditional and contemporary arts and crafts.