Rally to raise freshwater awareness

More and more citizens are becoming aware and alarmed about water quality.

More and more citizens are becoming aware and alarmed about water quality.

PROTECTING TE WAI: Maraea Pomana (Mareikura Waka Ama Club) and Airini Forbes sit along the edge of Waiamata River, one of the main recreational waterways in Gisborne. Ms Forbes is organising the Gisborne Save Our Water Rally for Tuesday, March 14, to coincide with a nationwide rally to make fresh water an election issue. Picture by Liam Clayton

A DRIVE for people to be more aware about freshwater issues is behind a rally taking place next week outside Gisborne District Council’s main office.

It is part of the Save Our Water rally taking place in front of councils around New Zealand to coincide with Jen Branje handing over a petition to Parliament on Tuesday, March 14. Jen Branje is founder of NZ Water Forum - Bung the Bore.

The aims of the petition and supporting rallies is to make fresh water an election issue and raise concerns about water quality, water management, irrigation, untreated wastewater going into waterways and water bottling companies taking pristine drinking water.

Gisborne rally organiser Airini Forbes says she is driven by the need for people to be more aware about freshwater issues.

“I am living in it and swimming in it. I am a passionate supporter of protecting papatuanuku (earth mother) and practising kaitiakitanga (guardianship).”

Ms Forbes grew up near Porirua Harbour in Wellington and saw water quality degrade near her local marae.

“Now we are catching less kaimoana. It used to be our livelihoods.”

There are similar issues here.

“Developments at the port are affecting kaimoana in the area surrounding it. I spend a lot of time at Rere Falls and Rere Rockslide and am really concerned about how poor the water quality is there too.

“Then there is the effluent being dumped into the rivers and the ocean in the wastewater overflows.

“People cannot just sit at home and complain about it. We need to build relationships with the council and raise awareness.”

She acknowledges that the council has taken some positive steps, such as the wetlands trial for wastewater treatment and water quality developments with Rere farmers. But through the rally she wants to make sure fresh water is high on the agenda.

Maraea Pomana from the Mareikura Waka Ama Club says she will be at the rally because of water quality issues on the Waimata River.

They have children and young people paddling there six days a week.

“Some days we do not want to put them in the water as it looks like poison and stinks. When there are stormwater overflows we cannot use it for two to three days, but even then is it safe?”

A DRIVE for people to be more aware about freshwater issues is behind a rally taking place next week outside Gisborne District Council’s main office.

It is part of the Save Our Water rally taking place in front of councils around New Zealand to coincide with Jen Branje handing over a petition to Parliament on Tuesday, March 14. Jen Branje is founder of NZ Water Forum - Bung the Bore.

The aims of the petition and supporting rallies is to make fresh water an election issue and raise concerns about water quality, water management, irrigation, untreated wastewater going into waterways and water bottling companies taking pristine drinking water.

Gisborne rally organiser Airini Forbes says she is driven by the need for people to be more aware about freshwater issues.

“I am living in it and swimming in it. I am a passionate supporter of protecting papatuanuku (earth mother) and practising kaitiakitanga (guardianship).”

Ms Forbes grew up near Porirua Harbour in Wellington and saw water quality degrade near her local marae.

“Now we are catching less kaimoana. It used to be our livelihoods.”

There are similar issues here.

“Developments at the port are affecting kaimoana in the area surrounding it. I spend a lot of time at Rere Falls and Rere Rockslide and am really concerned about how poor the water quality is there too.

“Then there is the effluent being dumped into the rivers and the ocean in the wastewater overflows.

“People cannot just sit at home and complain about it. We need to build relationships with the council and raise awareness.”

She acknowledges that the council has taken some positive steps, such as the wetlands trial for wastewater treatment and water quality developments with Rere farmers. But through the rally she wants to make sure fresh water is high on the agenda.

Maraea Pomana from the Mareikura Waka Ama Club says she will be at the rally because of water quality issues on the Waimata River.

They have children and young people paddling there six days a week.

“Some days we do not want to put them in the water as it looks like poison and stinks. When there are stormwater overflows we cannot use it for two to three days, but even then is it safe?”

The Gisborne Save Our Water Rally is on Tuesday, March 14, from 12 noon to 1pm outside the council’s main office at 39 Gladstone Road.

A range of speakers will discuss freshwater issues in the Gisborne district.

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