Emotional plea and petition for clean water

By Heta Gardiner

A petition calling for water quality standards for lakes and rivers to be 'swimmable' arrived at Parliament today. School children from the North Island town of Tūrangi walked much of the way to Parliament over the Easter Weekend to bring 10,000 drops of water to the steps of Parliament today.

Tawera Tahuri wept at the site of splashed water at parliament, “The water is polluted and all I can think of is my grandson.”  

These students from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Whakarewa i te Reo o Tūwharetoa have walked more than 300km across the country and arrived at parliament today.

Their journey has been long, but their message is clear, “Choose clean water.”

There was one key issue petition advocate Priscilla Cowie had to say about the future generations, “That they can swim in the water, it the rivers. Like we did when we were young.”

This issue is about pushing the government to improve water quality standards of lakes and rivers to be swimmable.

"Choose Clean Water" is the catch phrase and the group has collected more than twelve thousand signatures. Many politicians were there to support.

“Who will stand for them and their health? So that the rivers live on. So there life-force lives on,” says Cowie.

Time will tell if the government takes notice.