National | Taranaki

Waiwhetu marae opens new water well for Hutt Valley

Te Runanga o Te Ātiawa ki te Upoko o Te Ika a Maui Chairman Kura Moehu says the newly opened water well at Waiwhetu Marae will be a valuable resource for all of the community to benefit from. The water well was unveiled with a dawn ceremony this morning.

Tangaroa is the pillar who stands guardian of the sacred water that runs from under the earth.

Moeahu says, "The intent of this initiative was always to make available to our community and the many other communities through the Hutt Valley."

Kura Moeahu. Source/File.

The land where the water well is situated was confiscated in the 1940's under the public works act for state housing purposes. Families were moved off the land and scattered throughout the Hutt Valley.

Moeahu continues, "I would see many people going to the water well in Petone to get drinking water and I always imagined providing the same here and establishing a water well for all the local people throughout the whole of the Hutt Valley."

In 2003 Te Ātiawa began discussions with GNS Science and since much research has been done to enable the running of the water well, and now is safe and of national water standards.

"That was a significant part of the process between ourselfs of Te Ātiawa and GNS Science, and their research," Moeahu says.

Nick Hewer-Heweitt drinks from the puna. Source/File

Manager of the network management group at Wellington Water Nick Hewer-Hewitt says he is well aware of the importance of having clean drinking water for all of the community.

Hewer-Hewitt says, "With the treatment its just basically got filters on it and a bit of UV which is basically concentrated sunlight just to make sure that there's nothing untoward in the water or any bugs in the water."

The Waiwhetu Marae received $150,000 from the Hutt city council to build the community well and despite Lower Hutt's drinking water being chlorinated after three tests found  E-coli in local water in 2017, the water is now fit for purpose.

Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry says, "The council is really proud to work in partnership with iwi to help deliver this obviously its going to make real difference for our entire community. It show when council and iwi work togeather we can get some really good outcomes."

Moeahu says in closing, "Beneath the earth runs the water, the water from the heavens that is now stalled inside of the earth."

The water well was the foresight of Dr Ihakara Puketapu who was raised on the Waiwhetu block. The occasion also marked Puketapu's 86th birthday.