Topic: Kapa Haka

Record low water levels ahead of Te Matatini

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Hot temperatures and lower than normal rainfall will mean water restrictions will continue in Hawkes Bay ahead of Te Matatini.

Locals are urged to conserve water as aquifers reach record low levels but Ngāti Kahungunu says water will be provided to manuhiri.

The towns Brookvale bore is out of action causing pressure on the existing water supply system to pump water to meet demand, so a  sprinkler ban in the Hastings area has been implemented.

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule says people shouldn't be concerned, "I know that there is a lot of extra people in town but in the main council network and supply system we have plenty of water."

The bore is currently under repair and is expected to be back up and running before the festival starts, as it undergoes a UV filtration system upgrade to help ensure the water is safe to drink. When complete it should ease some pressure off the town water system.

The Heretaunga Plains aquifer reached record low levels in January and rivers across the region are extremely low but provisions are being made to ensure there is enough water for everyone.

"If visitors are worried we will be providing bottled water to all the marae as well as everyone inside Kahungunu Park, there will cups of water and bottles for everyone," says Ngahiwi Tomoana, Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi chairman.

Because of the gastro outbreak last year, where 5000 people became ill, Hastings water is now chlorinated, however, chlorine free water stations are set to be ready to use before the festival starts.

They will be in locations across the area including Hastings, Havelock North, Flaxmere and hopefully to Bridge Pa and Pakipaki and will be free of charge.

The region is dryer than normal at this time of year and temperatures are expected to continue into the 30s throughout the duration of Matatini. 

Tomoana has some advice for Matatini goers "Make sure you bring a hat, you can bring your own water and make sure to wear the right clothing for the intense summer here in Ngāti Kahungunu."

Most recently one of the main water reservoirs in Napier was found to have a positive ecoli reading but has since had three consecutive negative ecoli readings which means the reservoir can be opened and connected back to the town water supply.

However, as a precaution, the water will continue to be chlorinated and is currently undergoing a specialist cleaning procedure which should mean chlorine free water possibly as early as next week.