Rāhui on Taupō Lake lifted due to wastewater pipe collapse

By Taroi Black

Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board (the Trust Board) has lifted a rāhui it imposed six weeks ago on parts of Lake Taupō and the upper Waikato Awa (river).  

This follows the collapse of a wastewater pipe that resulted in an estimated 800,000 litres of wastewater spilling into the lake.

Trust Board Chief Executive Topia Rameka says, “Over these past six or so weeks, we have worked alongside our marae representatives to oversee the infrastructure remediation work."

“We have also been busy implementing our monitoring plan which pulls together cultural data, water sampling, sediment sampling from the shore and lakebed, and mahinga kai sampling.”

The rāhui was imposed on 5 July, following the wastewater spill on 2 July, to ensure the community was kept safe and the areas affected by the spill (Tapuaeharuru Bay and the Waikato Awa to Aratiatia) had an opportunity to rest and recover.

“The restriction over the immediate construction site remains in place until the final remediation work has been completed.”

Rameka said when the spill occurred, one of the first priorities was to put in place an environmental and cultural monitoring plan, driven by Tūwharetoa mātauranga (knowledge), that would inform kaitiaki (guardians) about the state of the moana (lake) and awa.

“We are so pleased with this outcome and wish to acknowledge our marae and kaumātua (elders) for their leadership during this time," says Rameka.