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Library presentation will explore the power of Iwi-Council


Library presentation will explore the power of Iwi-Council partnership

A lecture on Iwi and Council partnership will explore how collaboration can help enhance projects such as the upgrade of the Rotorua Wastewater Treatment Plant and wastewater services.

A community focussed committee was formed in 2014 to investigate alternative options to improve the wastewater treatment and to identify a new disposal point for recovered water.

Its establishment was prompted by Rotorua Lakes Council and CNI Iwi Holdings signing an agreement to end treated effluent irrigation in Whakarewarewa Forest by December 2019.

Council’s Stavros Michael and Te Taru White of Te Tatau o Te Arawa will be presenting their thoughts about the influence of partnership at the Rotorua Library on Monday from 10:30am.

“The Rotorua Project Steering Committee and its Cultural Assessment Subcommittee were tasked with finding a preferred option that met several objects including being life-sustaining, restoring the mauri (life essence) of the water and meeting the National Policy Statement for Freshwater. A preferred option needed to improve the water quality and make it as clean as possible before release in to the environment,” says Council’s general manager of Infrastructure, Stavros Michael.

The preferred proposed upgrade option that was identified would be able to handle up to 70 million litres of wastewater a day, which is about 50 million litres more than it currently processes. It also includes a UV light disinfection system and would have a water restoration land contact bed in place before the recovered water is released to Lake Rotorua.

Te Tatau o Te Arawa chair, Te Taru White, a trained engineering geologist, welcomes the preferred option saying it merges both western science and Māori knowledge.

“The upgrade is not solely about chemical cleansing undertaken in the Treatment Plant. After the para (effluent) goes through the plant it makes its journey through the land contact bed design, which further purifies the recovered water as it comes up through the earth, passes through unique rocks and vegetation. This process helps reconcile the water’s environmental genealogy before being released. What we need to remember is everything in our world including the things we cannot see holds or has left an imprint or whakapapa on the environment,” he says.

Council’s Sustainable Economic Development Portfolio Lead, Councillor Dave Donaldson, says the alternative option is a sign of mutual respect.

“The proposed option will significantly relieve pressure on the Whakarewarewa Forest, where spraying treated effluent has become unsustainable. The alternative solution shows a collective community response to implement a system that is respectful to tikanga and kawa (cultural values) and serves our growing community, while endeavouring to be environmentally sustainable,” he says.

The Library presentation on Monday will also look at how adopting science, engineering practices and cultural values in a project can have a greater chance of being universally favoured by the community.

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