Kāretu (scented grass) will again grow on the banks of the Mākāretu River following the granting of a 35-year consent for land-based discharge, ending the discharge of Takapau wastewater into the river.
This decision by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council marks another step for Central Hawke’s Bay District Council towards sustainable, environmentally focused wastewater management, as set out in Council’s Long Term Plan 2021 - 2031. In September, Otāne wastewater discharge was permanently removed from the Papanui stream, and Council is on track to remove all wastewater discharges from the district’s waterways by 2035.
“This great news for Takapau builds on the strategy for our infrastructure that we’ve been working towards over the last six years,” says Mayor Alex Walker. “It’s important for our community to have their river respected and restored and to see the tangible progress of our plans to remove wastewater from awa (rivers) across the district. I am also proud that the actions of Council support the work that landowners across the sub-catchment are driving. The length of this consent – 35 years – confirms confidence in our ability to deliver for people and the environment.”
Over the past four years, Council has engaged with the Takapau community and Mana whenua on the question of wastewater discharge into the Mākāretu River.
This included an assessment by Joanne Heperi (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tahu ki Takapau, Ngāi Toroiwaho, Ngāi Te Kikiri o te Rangi), a Mātanga Taiao (environmental consultant) qualified in Kaitiakitanga Pūtaiao and based in Takapau. This assessment considered the relationship between Mana whenua and the Mākāretu, the current and future health and state of the river and its cultural significance.
“The engagement of Council with Mana whenua in finding a sustainable approach to wastewater management has been essential to the process,” says Ms Heperi. “Stopping the discharge into our tupuna awa reflects to us that the voice of Mana whenua has been heard. It signifies a genuine commitment of Council in restoring mauri back to the waterways, thereby giving true effect to Te Mana o Te Wai. The opportunities for Mana whenua to develop a new way to care for our awa (waterways) underpinned by mātauranga Māori, tikanga and cultural values is exciting for us all.”
The results of collaboration with Mana whenua will first be seen in the restoration of an area close to the river with native plants, including kāretu, kahikatea, ti kouka and harakeke, and a picnic and rest area marked with an entrance Pou (marker). The project will also include restoring the ‘Crusher’ swimming hole, destined to be once again a popular recreation spot for the Takapau and wider Central Hawke’s Bay community.
Central Hawke’s Bay District Council has now started procuring the system components for a combined land discharge system at Takapau. The first stage of irrigation to land is scheduled to commence in 2023 and will see a maximum of 30 hectares of farmland irrigated and the river discharge used only when the river is in flood. Additional storage capacity construction and second stage of irrigation to land will begin in 2024.
20 October 2022
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