Iwi Leaders push for marae to have access to clean drinking water

By Aroha Treacher

With water quality being a serious topic across the country, the Iwi Leaders Group is pushing for a solution to ensure that all marae across the country have access to fresh, clean drinking water.

Fresh water is of the utmost importance to iwi leaders nation-wide.

Adele Whyte says, “One of the major objectives of the iwi leaders chair group forum is to ensure that all marae have access to good quality drinking water and we know this is a problem for all marae.”

Ngahiwi Tomana says, “The peripheral land use by people like farmers, vineyards and orchardists, they are the ones sucking up all the water from marae.”

The Heretaunga aquifer has some of the most pristine water in the country, so much so that bottling companies will be packaging it up and sending it to China.

Environmental Analyst, Ngaio Tiuka says, “In terms of drinking water standards it's around .3 .4 milligrams of nitrogen nitrate a litre what does that mean? That’s well below the national drinking water standard, which is about 11.4 so it's really good.”

But the challenge is to keep it that way, an aspiration that the Crown agrees needs to be prioritised.

Whyte says, “So iwi advisors have been working with the crown and our whānau to develop some options and over the next month or so we'll be working more closely with the crown to further develop those bringing them out for consultation later on in the year.”

Tomoana says, “To enable them to use pure water that is fresh and healthy to nourish whānau and hapū.”

However, any decisions will require Crown consultation with iwi. The group is holding meetings through the country to update iwi and hapū.

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