Te Rarawa iwi launches Te Tupehau water facility

By Dean Nathan

A peninsula of land formed by windblown sand is commemorated in the name of the new lake being developed by the people of Te Rarawa.

Hone Paitai (Te Rarawa, Te Aupouri) says its purpose is to provide water supply and, in times of drought, this facility will supply water for Kaitāia.

The first water storage system of its type in New Zealand, Te Tupehau will have a storage capacity of 350,000 litres.

Nora Rameka (Ngāti Rēhia) says it's a major project aimed at providing water for all the people of Northland.

Sweetwater was one of the properties returned as part of a Treaty of Waitangi settlement, Te Rarawa later bought adjoining land and using the water storage system plans to convert more farmland into horticulture and employment opportunities.

The project could see up to 400 hectares converted from dairy to high-value horticulture.

Regional  Development Minister Shane Jones says leaders such as Eru Ihaka, Herepete Rapihana and Timoti Puhipi clashed with the Crown over this particular area in their day as it was a major food source for the district known as Tangonge.

Jones says it's time now to reinvigorate the "parched" land.

Paitai says, "We are lucky that this farm belongs to Te Rarawa and it's the ideal place to build our lake."

A paradise in the day of old, given time the region will flourish once again.