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Matauranga Maori, citizen science, community knowledge, and expert information combine 'for future of freshwater'

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Mātauranga Māori, citizen science, community knowledge, and expert information combine for future of freshwater in Wellington, LOWER HUTT AND UPPER HUTT

Te Whanganui-a-Tara Whaitua Committee has completed its work to develop a programme to improve the quality of streams and rivers in Wellington, Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt.

Two reports for Whaitua te Whanganui-a-Tara were presented to Greater Wellington and are also being received by the three city councils in this whaitua - Wellington City Council, Hutt City Council and Upper Hutt City Council.

The committee produced the Whaitua Implementation Programme which contains a long term vision to restore wai ora (healthy water) within 100 years. Committee representatives from Taranaki Whānui and Ngāti Toa Rangatira also produced Te Mahere Wai, a Mana Whenua Whaitua Implementation Programme. It describes Mana Whenua values, establishes a Mana Whenua assessment framework, called Te Oranga Wai for measurement and management of freshwater, receiving coastal waters and mahinga kai in the whaitua.

The Whaitua Implementation Programme and Te Mahere Wai must be read, implemented and woven together to ensure the objectives and recommendations in both reports are met.

Chair of Greater Wellington Daran Ponter celebrated the Whaitua process, welcomed the reports and thanked the committee and Mana Whenua for their commitment to wai ora and healthy waters.

"This is a great of example of bringing traditional knowledge and values to the forefront and alongside community input and ensuring we have a bold vision and framework to build on.

"Some of the recommendations in the reports are regulatory and will be incorporated into the Proposed Natural Resources Plan for the region which will be open for public consultation in September 2022 and I encourage everyone to participate by making submissions.

It’ll be your opportunity to have your say on a raft of important recommendations and decisions for the future of our water," says Daran Ponter.

Louise Askin, co-chair of Te Whanganui-a-Tara Whaitua Committee with Sam Kahui, said a staged approach and commitment to ongoing partnership will be required if we ever hope to get to wai ora over the next 100 years.

"Collaboration was core to our process in drafting the recommendations and reports and it will be key in the implementation too. Mana Whenua, Councils, three waters agencies, and the wider community all have a role to play," says Louise Askin.

Recommendations from the Whaitua reports will also be incorporated into the work programmes of Greater Wellington, city councils and Wellington Water. A range of public tools, materials and resources will also be developed with interactive catchment maps and a dashboard of scientific health indicators. The public is also encouraged to take their own actions such as finding out where the wastewater and stormwater goes from their properties and checking pipes on their properties for leaks and incorrect or illegal connections.

The Whaitua Implementation Programme and Te Mahere Wai reports can be found on the Greater Wellington website: gw.govt.nz/whaitua-te-whanganui-a-tara

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