Paua (Haliotis iris) is a unique species of Abalone found only in New Zealand and is an important part of our culture. Renowned for the vivid opalescent colours of its shell and its highly valued meat, the finest are found in our rugged coastal waters off Fiordland and Stewart Island in the far south. Traditionally Maori have used paua as a food source and the shells for vessels, personal adornment, decorative elements in carvings (particularly the eyes) and inlays in fish hooks.