Iwi submission to abandon aquifer trial

Opposed until there is certainty around effects of river recharge.

Opposed until there is certainty around effects of river recharge.

THE Makauri aquifer recharge trial should not go ahead, say Rongowhakaata. The iwi opposes Gisborne District Council’s application for a resource consent in its totality, the panel of commissioners was told.

Rongowhakaata iwi trust chairwoman Moera Brown submitted that the aquifer trial should be abandoned until there was more certainty around its effects.

She told the commissioners the council had not paid regard to their responsibility and interests as kaitiaki for both bodies of water — the Waipaoa River and the aquifer — despite that being a principle of the Resource Management Act.

The cultural impact assessment did not facilitate discussion with regard to how these would be provided for.

Rongowhakaata opposed the lack of regulation for the potential unknown and incalculable adverse effects on the aquifer as a result of the trial.

The trial’s planning did not include a robust and stringent approach to the management of adverse effects on the cultural values of the mauri of the two very different waters that were proposed to be mixed.

There was a lack of clarity in the trial’s planning in regard to ecological aspects.

The council had not provided a sustained and collaborative approach to its inadequate management.

The inability of GDC to effectively manage water resources was evidenced by the decline in the aquifer and river because of over-allocation in the first place.

Key consideration is cost

One key consideration was the significance of the costs associated with the trial, which they believed to be over $500,000.

It was noted that this was public money, and such an expense would be wasted if adverse effects could not be mitigated.

Fellow submitter Te Rina Whaanga said mauri was a concept of prime importance in Maori resource management.

Mauri was the binding force between the spiritual and physical. When mauri was extinguished death resulted.

The mauri of the water had already been affected by the process it had undergone at Kaiaponi Farms (where
the water will be extracted from the river.)

There was an added complication in that the proposed intake site at Kaiaponi was approximately 20 kilometres down the river from the Te Karaka wastewater discharge point.

For Maori, even the idea of mixing in treated water that once contained sewage was unacceptable.

Mrs Brown said Rongowhakaata submitted the trial should be abandoned until there was more certainty around the effects on the potential for contamination of the aquifer, river dynamics and morphology, iwi and hapu interests, rights and mana as kaitiaki, and any potential effects on water users, adjacent ground and water systems.

They wanted a detailed cost-benefit analysis of the project that would include possible alternatives such as a reduction in the water allocation for the aquifer.

Serious consideration of alternative methods to manage the aquifer's decline were required.

Rongowhakaata questioned the lifespan and outcomes of the trial’s larger full-scale solution.

In response to the district council’s presentation the previous day, they asked for a condition to be added that the consent holder establish a collaborative process with mana whenua around the design and implementation of the monitoring programme and evaluation process for the trial.

THE Makauri aquifer recharge trial should not go ahead, say Rongowhakaata. The iwi opposes Gisborne District Council’s application for a resource consent in its totality, the panel of commissioners was told.

Rongowhakaata iwi trust chairwoman Moera Brown submitted that the aquifer trial should be abandoned until there was more certainty around its effects.

She told the commissioners the council had not paid regard to their responsibility and interests as kaitiaki for both bodies of water — the Waipaoa River and the aquifer — despite that being a principle of the Resource Management Act.

The cultural impact assessment did not facilitate discussion with regard to how these would be provided for.

Rongowhakaata opposed the lack of regulation for the potential unknown and incalculable adverse effects on the aquifer as a result of the trial.

The trial’s planning did not include a robust and stringent approach to the management of adverse effects on the cultural values of the mauri of the two very different waters that were proposed to be mixed.

There was a lack of clarity in the trial’s planning in regard to ecological aspects.

The council had not provided a sustained and collaborative approach to its inadequate management.

The inability of GDC to effectively manage water resources was evidenced by the decline in the aquifer and river because of over-allocation in the first place.

Key consideration is cost

One key consideration was the significance of the costs associated with the trial, which they believed to be over $500,000.

It was noted that this was public money, and such an expense would be wasted if adverse effects could not be mitigated.

Fellow submitter Te Rina Whaanga said mauri was a concept of prime importance in Maori resource management.

Mauri was the binding force between the spiritual and physical. When mauri was extinguished death resulted.

The mauri of the water had already been affected by the process it had undergone at Kaiaponi Farms (where
the water will be extracted from the river.)

There was an added complication in that the proposed intake site at Kaiaponi was approximately 20 kilometres down the river from the Te Karaka wastewater discharge point.

For Maori, even the idea of mixing in treated water that once contained sewage was unacceptable.

Mrs Brown said Rongowhakaata submitted the trial should be abandoned until there was more certainty around the effects on the potential for contamination of the aquifer, river dynamics and morphology, iwi and hapu interests, rights and mana as kaitiaki, and any potential effects on water users, adjacent ground and water systems.

They wanted a detailed cost-benefit analysis of the project that would include possible alternatives such as a reduction in the water allocation for the aquifer.

Serious consideration of alternative methods to manage the aquifer's decline were required.

Rongowhakaata questioned the lifespan and outcomes of the trial’s larger full-scale solution.

In response to the district council’s presentation the previous day, they asked for a condition to be added that the consent holder establish a collaborative process with mana whenua around the design and implementation of the monitoring programme and evaluation process for the trial.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you have a better understanding of the first encounters here between Maori and Europeans after the Tuia 250 Ki Turanga commemorations?