Whaitua Committee Engagement

Whaitua te Whanganui-a-Tara logo

In 2021, through a series of meetings held by locals to brainstorm ideas for the valley, one of the group suggested we contact our Whaitua Committee about our Lifting the Creek project.

We found out that Whaitua (catchment) Committees recommend ways to maintain and improve the quality of fresh water for Regional Council, and help to achieve a community vision for water by combining mātauranga Māori, citizen science, community knowledge, and expert information. The committees then develop a Whaitua Implementation Programme together with their communities, which describes community aspirations for freshwater and helps set a platform for collective effort to improve the health of waterways. The plan is implemented through new regulations and actions on the ground. It sounded perfect!

In April, locals welcomed the Whaitua te Whanganui-a-Tara and other interested water restoration groups to an evening of shared aspirations and conversations about how to restore the Houghton Valley water catchment.

The evening started at the playground near Hungerford Road and the manuhiri were welcomed with a mihi, karakia and waiata. The guests were then invited to ‘cross over’ the stream beneath. Then after some introductions, there was a quick tour of the local springs and wetland before everyone headed up to the school hall for some kai, presentations and discussions.

The evening was very positive and they fully supported the project in principle, but in the end the committee was not able to make any recommendations as streams in pipes were not recognised by the Resource Management Act, something which is now being remedied. However, they suggested we try again to get the project into the next WCC Long Term Plan, which we are currently, if not slightly belatedly, trying to do.