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Water is a Taonga

Media Release 12 May 2017


Ngāti Kahungunu agrees with findings from the inquiry into the Havelock North gastro outbreak and welcomes the Inquiry’s recommendation that resources could be better used to investigate the status of the Heretaunga Aquifer.

“Water is a Taonga, a treasure to nurture and cherish. As a taonga, water nourishes people and provides for good health. As kaitiaki of this taonga, for all people, for all time, we take responsibility seriously and therefore Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi is willing to work with all parties to provide leadership to resolving these issues. This is the theme we’re promoting through the water symposium” says Ngahiwi Tomoana, iwi Chairman.

The Iwi has consistently advocated for greater protection of the ground water and the aquifer, and have promoted a precautionary approach. The Iwi agree that the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board (HBDHB) did its utmost amidst the outbreak. The HBDHB and Iwi have often shared the same concerns and advocated alongside each other to local Councils for greater protection measures. It would be a positive step forward if both councils shared similar concerns to the DHB and the Iwi.

A precautionary approach to aquifer management should now be the norm. It’s imperative that Council decision makers make the connection between the proposed large scale intensive land use; as promoted by the Ruataniwha dam supporters; and the ‘eventual’ contamination of our precious ground water and the direct impacts on the health and well-being of our communities. The Inquiry noted there is much room for improvement in safe guarding the aquifer.

“There are far too many unknowns for such a valuable but vulnerable resource. To avoid a repeat, it is illogical to ‘create’ a situation where management of water quality will become more difficult, through enabling and promoting intensified land use” says Ngaio Tiuka, Ngāti Kahungunu Acting Director of Environment and Natural Resources.

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi expects elected councillors to honour their election pledge which led to the Iwi endorsing there candidacy to its constituents.

© Scoop Media

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