Future generations will not have to carry the burden of fighting for clean drinking water after marae across the Horowhenua region received upgrades to their supplies.
Thirteen marae benefited from the Three Waters stimulus package, with Horowhenua District Council allocating $520,000 of funding to improve waste and stormwater and drinking water facilities.
Thirty-thousand litre water tanks were installed at different sites across the rohe, as well as nine drinking water and UV filtration systems.
One of those to benefit was Motuiti Marae on State Highway 1, north of Foxton, which belongs to Ngāti Raukawa hapū Ngāti Rākau.
Motuiti committee chief George Davis said at the core of the project was the health and wellbeing of their people.
“The common ground for us is the wellbeing of our people, of our children. This is about the greater good of the people and how together we can create awesome outcomes.
“Having basic access to safe filtered water and not having to worry about that any more means our children, and our children’s children, won’t have to bear the burden of that further down the track.”
Previously the marae had four 20,000L concrete water tanks, but three were broken and leaking.
The damage meant only about 40,000L of water was accessible at any time and there was no provision for water filtering.
Davis said problems frequently arose during large hui hosted at the marae and iwi would have to buy water to accommodate their visitors.
The whāre had a 200-person capacity, but during large events, it would often overflow outside.
The marae now had three new high-grade polyethylene plastic tanks, which included debris filters.
New pipes to support the framework were installed and a water filtration system was erected in the kitchen to supply clean drinking water.
“We would run out of water continuously,” said David. “But now we have 90,000 litres of water, so it is a big financial relief too.”
Funding was also being sought for electric backup generators to guarantee uninterrupted water supply and safe drinking water in the event of a power loss or other emergencies.
At a celebration at Horowhenua District Council in May, Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta said the enhancements also highlighted the significance of marae as community centres and the necessity of having well-equipped facilities to meet people’s needs.
“In the event of a natural disaster and with challenges like Covid-19 we see our marae become community centres.
“When we ensure that marae have all the infrastructure that is required to enable them to operate effectively as community centres, the future looks very bright.”
Davis said Motuiti had begun working towards the goal of becoming a civil defence hub and the upgrades were a big part of achieving that.
“There is still work to be done, and conversations we will continue to have, to identify which marae would be the most effective to support a civil defence hub.
“There are still things that will need to be done to get things up to that standard, and all of our marae are working on different upgrades.”
He said Paranui Marae had funding to build an ablution block and were working on that.
“So we are all doing what we can to have our marae in a place where they can best support the wellbeing of our communities.”
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