Press Release 26th May 2021
Watershed event for Te Wai O Pareira results in working group
A groundswell of political and community support is building to reverse the declining health of West Auckland river Te Wai O Pareira / Henderson Creek. This issue was front and centre at a hui held on Friday 7 May, convened by Phil Twyford MP and was a watershed event for Rivercare Group Te Wai O Pareira. The hui brought together politicians, agencies, iwi and community groups to discuss the various issues facing the awa and develop a plan to restore its mauri / life force.
Te Wai O Pareira is the largest freshwater tributary flowing into the Waitematā Harbour in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. The river suffers from numerous sewage overflows that result in harmful levels of E. coli and Enterococci, posing a health risk to the public. Increased housing intensification in Te Atatū Peninsula and further upstream has also resulted in high levels of litter, pollution inflows, and sedimentation.
Representatives from local and central government were present at the hui, including MP Phil Twyford who chaired the event, members of the Henderson Massey Local Board, and MP Chris Penk. Also present were representatives from Watercare, Healthy
Waters and Te Atatū Marae Coalition, and community groups including Community Waitakere, Sustainable Coastlines, Forest & Bird, Birds NZ and the Whau Walkway Trust. Rivercare Group Te Wai O Pareira [RCGTWOP] facilitated the event.
“Our intention is to bring the sad state of Te Wai O Pareira into focus and progress this issue in the political spectrum,” says Chris Ballantyne, Chair of RCGTWOP. “We are advocating for the awa, its native species, and our community that draws so much joy and sustenance from it.”
The key outcome of the hui was agreement on forming a Te Wai O Pareira working group, comprising representatives of RCGTWOP, Watercare, Healthy Waters, tangata whenua, councillors and interested NGO’s to develop an action plan to work towards restoration of Te Wai o Pareira.
RCGTWOP are tasked with developing the framework and action plan for establishment of the working group, and MP Phil Twyford will facilitate further action by the working group as required.
A public meeting will be held at some point in the future to raise
awareness and garner more community support.
Ballantyne summarises, “To date, the agencies have had an incoherent, fragmented and failed model for caring for the awa. Hopefully the take-away from the hui is a working group that has a vision, plan, accountability, and a means of communicating effectively with the community.” He adds, “To do so, we will require resourcing.”