Puketeraki Marae open to the community following water contamination scare

Feb 10, 2021

Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki is working to ensure anyone whose water supply may have been affected by lead contamination has access to safe drinking water.

Last week, residents in Karitāne and Waikouaiti were informed by Dunedin City Council that water samples taken in December were found to contain almost 40 times the acceptable level of lead.

A safe water supply is available at the marae and the Rūnaka is encouraging the community to make use of it if they are having trouble accessing safe drinking water.

Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki Chair Matapura Ellison says,

“Our focus is on ensuring our whānau and the wider community have access to safe drinking water. Until such time as we receive reassurrances, the ongoing testing is important to ensure people haven’t been exposed to long-term contamination.”

“Beyond the wellbeing of our people, our focus is on understanding what this contamination means for our whole community especially our tamariki and pēpi, but we are also very concerned about livestock, vegetables and our river, which is of course a source of kai.” We are absolutely concerned about the effect of this pollutant on the mauri of the awa Waikouaiti,”

The Rūnaka is also hosting a meeting with Dunedin City Council this evening to discuss the situation with Dunedin City Council chief executive Sandy Graham and her team.

“This is a very unsettling time and like everyone we are trying to seek answers. We are also aware there is a lot of speculation flying around. We encourage our members, especially those living in Karitāne and Waikouaiti to attend the hui. If you have been affected by this water ban or you have concerns for the health of the awa, this is your opportunity to be informed and to ask any questions you may have.”

The meeting will be held at Puketeraki Marae from 7.30pm, Wednesday 10 February.

More information on community clinics

Community clinics to test blood lead levels for residents in Waikouaiti, Karitane and Hawksbury have been scheduled, as Public Health South looks to see whether the community may have experienced chronic exposure to lead in the drinking water.

They will take place in the East Otago Events Centre, Waikouaiti, from 9-12 February, with clinics at the following times:

Tuesday 9 February: 2 – 5pm. Children will be prioritised.

Wednesday 10 February: 9am – 4pm. Children will be prioritised.

Thursday 11 February: 3pm – 7pm

Friday 12 February: 3pm – 7pm

And at the Hui Room, Karitane Old School, 121 Grimness St, Karitane on Thursday 11 February: 3pm – 7pm