Topic: Water

Special consideration for wāhi tapu around Ruataniwha Dam

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

It's now week four of the board of inquiry into the Ruataniwha Dam, one of the most expensive government projects ever to be built in this country.

Over the last month, dozens of witnesses have been called, and many submissions read, including Ngāti Kahungunu’s.

The tribe wants special consideration given to their sacred areas at the dam site.

According to Ngāti Kahungunu chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana, “We have many sacred sites on the Tukituki River and alongside it, from the mountains right through to the river mouth.”

Preserving these sites along with the quality of the water is of paramount importance.

The board was set up to consider resource consents for the water storage scheme, but Labour leader David Cunliffe has his doubts about the transparency of the inquiry and wants to see all information available to the public.

To date, the board has heard concerns about everything from water quality to the lack of ecological analysis to differing opinions about kaitiaki responsibilities for land and water in the area.