New funding to improve water quality

Environment Minister David Parker has today announced Government funding to help iwi in Whanganui, Gisborne and Omapere improve the health of their local waterways. 

“Helping fund projects such as these is just one of the ways that we are working to halt the degradation and start making improvements to our fresh water,” David Parker said.  

The $750,000 in total funding comes from the Ministry for the Environment’s Te Mana o Te Wai Fund, which is used to support the aspirations of local tangata whenua. It will be used to support three projects. 

The announcement coincides with the United Nation’s World Environment Day. 

The Whanganui-based Te kinakitanga o Ngati Tuera rāua ko Ngati Hinero will use its $250,000 to repair the health and wellbeing of the Whanganui awa, by improving water quality in the catchment, protecting and restoring habitat and ensuring biodiversity and ecosystems are sustainable for current and future generations. 

In Northland Te Mana o Roto Omapere Me Ona Awa is developing a strategy to restore Lake Omapere. This will include engagement with those who have an interest in the lake and the development of a monitoring programme to measure lake health. 

In Gisborne, Te Runanganui o Ngāti Porou Trust will work with council to develop a Joint Management Agreement. The agreement will establish the decision-making processes and planning processes to recognise Ngāti Porou hapū rights and interests in freshwater management. 

David Parker said that the Government plans in August to release a new freshwater National Policy Statement and a new National Environmental Standards for consultation.  

“This is a chance for New Zealanders to have their say on tough new rules designed to clean up our freshwater.  

“At the heart of our work on fresh water sits Te Mana o Te Wai - the mana of the water – which is a concept that encompasses the integrated and holistic health and well-being of a water body which can sustain the full range of environmental, social, cultural and economic values held by iwi/hapū and the community.”  

Te Mana o Te Wai provides the values, principles and practices required to maintain healthy freshwater, while the Ministry’s Te Mana o Te Wai fund helps local iwi realise their aspirations for freshwater.   

With World Environment Day’s focus on air quality, David Parker noted that while air quality is not the biggest environmental issue New Zealand faces, the Environment Ministry is reviewing the National Environmental Standard that sets limits on air pollution.  

Notes to editors: 

The purpose of the Te Mana o Te Wai Fund is to help Māori play an active role in improving the water quality of freshwater bodies (including lakes, rivers, streams, estuaries and lagoons) that are of importance to them in their rohe.