Regional | Water

Water the new gold for Te Whānau a Apanui


Te Whānau a Maru Haeremuri and Te Whānau a Pararaki, hapū of Te Whānau a Apanui have launched a $10 million water irrigation system that sends water from the Raukokore awa direct to areas of Raukokore for watering orchards. Water from the awa will also be pumped to a holding pond to be used when river levels are low.

This technology will create more opportunities to expand the orchard businesses in the area and create more employment in and around Raukokore.

“It’s exciting, it’s innovative, it’s for our people mana, motuhake, doing by us, for us and the wider community,” project negotiating lead Willie Te Aho said.

The hapū worked with the last Labour government to complete this new water irrigation system. Water is being pumped from the river up to a buffer pond and the water will than be pumped out from a water station and distributed via 20km of pipes to areas around Raukokore such as Tawaroa and Oreti and from these points orchard developers can tap into this lifeline for their crops.

The water from the holding pond will only be used during times of drought. In between those times the water in the pond will be pumped back into the river to a level that allows for the taking of water again as needed.

Protecting te taio

“This water from the holding pond would only be used possibly two to three times over the next 20 years. Water is gold around here,” Raukokore Water chair Clive Tilby said.

Glen Stirling of Te Whānau a Maru Haeremuri hapū, who has been working closely on the project with Raukokore Water, is happy with the progress and completion of the project.

“The measures taken on protecting te taiao and te mauri o te wai was the most important thing for us. Our awa is able to sustain itself as we do our bit and a river level consent keeps us accountable and transparent in what we are doing. There are also UV measure quality checks and manual water sampling throughout the awa from the mouth and up into the back hills as means to protecting our wai,” Stirling said.

The pond holds 80,000 cubic metres, and water is pumped from under the gravel of the awa and not directly from it.

Funding has come from the Provisional Growth Fund.

New Zealand First list MP Jamie Arbuckle, a horticulturalist, took part in the opening and expressed his delight in seeing the project done on time and under budget.

“I’m happy to be here on behalf of Minister Shane Jones and the 2017 coalition government Provisional Growth Fund initiative that has helped pave a way forward for Te Whānau a Apanui and many other communities around the country,” Arbuckle said.

Jobs to bring the people home

With this new water irrigation system, it is hoped the hapū will meet the needs of the expected 300 hectares of orchard development envisaged, with a continual flow of water all seasons long. This will create more jobs.

“And, ultimately, our people can come home to work and build their own homes on their whenua and have mahi to pay them off,” Te Aho said.

The next step for Te Whānau a Maru Haeremuri and Te Whānau a Pararaki hapū is to further develop the water system for domestic in the many homes in and around Raukokore.