July 07, 2020
Water plans risk breach of tapu
A tikanga expert warns Watercare's back up plan to supplement Auckland water supplies with treated wastewater would be objectionable to Māori.
The possibility is being considered alongside plans to increase its take from the Waikato.
University of Waikato associate professor Te Kahautu Maxwell says Watercare is charging ahead without spiritual guidance or consultation from iwi and hapū.
He says Māori have had a long-running fight over sewage treatment methods involving discharges to water.
"We were fighting back in the 1960s and 70s with regard to towns and district councils and city councils discharging waste to the moana so you've got the Waitemata and the Manukau there, just the pollution of our food stocks, our people not going near them because we considered it tapu and dirty really," he says.
Dr Maxwell says diverting water from the Waikato River to the Auckland catchment could also be seen by Māori as diminishing its mauri or life force.
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