Tangata whenua, together with Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council representatives, today led a blessing on the site of the Waiāri Water Supply Scheme.
The scheme involves developing a new water abstract facility on the Waiāri Stream, a water treatment plant in No.1 Road, Te Puke, and an underground water pipeline from the plant to Papamoa.
The plant will mainly service the Papamoa coastal strip and the Te Tumu growth area, and provide a backup for Western Bay of Plenty District Council’s Te Puke water supply.
Tauranga City Council Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout said it was an honour to be involved in the ceremony, which recognised tangata whenua relationships with the stream.
“The Waiāri Stream is a source of spiritual significance and we’re committed to recognising the inherent relationship tangata whenua have with this precious waterway,” Mr Clout said.
“We must continue to recognise this relationship and ensure we’re protecting the stream by monitoring its chemical and biological health, as well as planting alongside the stream to prevent erosion and re-establish shade.”
Makahae Marae Chair Dean Flavell said caring for the stream for future generations was paramount to the project’s success.
“The Waiāri Stream is a place where tangata whenua live, source physical and spiritual sustenance, and in the past, defended themselves in times of warfare,” Mr Flavell said.
“This blessing is an acknowledgement of the cultural significance of the site and the importance of protecting our waterways.”
Mr Clout said the Wairāri Water Supply Scheme was expected to be completed in 2021.
"I want to thank all of the staff who have already made significant contributions in terms of their time, commitment and expertise to get us to this stage," Mr Clout said.
“I look forward to seeing the project come to fruition.”
For more information, visit www.tauranga.govt.nz/waiari