Iwi joins Akaroa wastewater appeal

Ōnuku Rūnanga, Wairewa Rūnanga, the Akaroa Taiāpure Management Committee and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu lodged a notice with the Environment Court On August 20, opposing an appeal lodged by Christchurch City Council relating to the discharge of wastewater into Akaroa Harbour for the next 25 years.

In the interests of fulfilling their kaitiaki (environmental stewardship) responsibilities and defending community interests, the four parties are seeking that the original decisions to decline the discharge of treated wastewater into the harbour are upheld by the Environment Court.

On 10 July 2015, a decision was issued by Independent Hearing Commissioners to decline Christchurch City Council’s application to discharge treated wastewater into the coastal marine waters of Akaroa Harbour.

Tā Mark Solomon, Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, says the iwi fully supported the July decision, saying it was great news for Akaroa, for the health and sustainability of mahinga kai and for the overall health of the harbour.

“The decision acknowledged the cultural and environmental concerns we had for the harbour and the health of the fisheries which our people have long depended on.”

Following the release of the July decision, the Christchurch City Council recently chose to appeal that decision to the Environment Court.

Tā Mark says the four Ngāi Tahu parties are seeking a land-based alternative for wastewater disposal and wish to work closely with the Council to find a suitable solution.

“We have five years before the Council has to implement the whole of its revised wastewater upgrade, so we have plenty of time to find a land-based solution that suits all parties,” he says.