Porotī hapū re-evaluate water resource

By Heeni Brown

Mana whenua Te Uriroroi, Te Parawhau and Te Mahurehure ki Whatitiri say they are not being given a fair share of water when it comes to Poroti Springs. Descendants have returned to their Māori reserve to re-evaluate the use of their water following the proposed building of a water bottle company nearby.

Porotī hapū spokesperson Millan Ruka is calling this a 'last stand' against several consents of water being taken from this aquifer.

Ruka says, "It's treasonous really to give such commodities away, our resources. You know a bottle of water that they will bottle over there can fetch up to $3 for one litre and yet diesel is $1.20, so our water is nearly worth three times what oil is. You don't just give away such a resource."

Today marks the beginning of a new protest where descendants have returned to clean the area and re-evaluate the use of their water supply.

"Just last week, the Whangarei District Council made their final decision to reject the water plan that we have, a water sharing plan, and that was what we were looking forward to. But now we're on our own pathway for our own economic benefits so that's what we're doing today. We're going to scope and shoot some levels, and explore where we'll create a retention for our own water supply."

The move follows the latest application to build a bottling plant just over 100m away and after having already contested four water take applications in the past year.

"We're going to share the resource. We've always considered that we should share this resource, but the problem we have now and have had for the last 30 years nobody wants to share with us and yet we've let our waters flow to share it continually and we still intend to do that, not taking water from anybody. We're just going to take our share."

Tomorrow, at 10am the descendants of the Waipao springs will take to the streets of Whangarei continuing to carry the message of their protest.