Carterton District Council, Ngāti Kahukuraāwhitia, and Greater Wellington are proud to announce an important step forward in their effort to manage wastewater in an environmentally friendly way.

The blessing of the Council’s wastewater treatment reservoirs is the latest stage in our goal to eliminate wastewater from the Mangatarere catchment.

Council was honoured to witness representatives from the Ngāti Kahukuraāwhitia hapū, the tangata whenua of the Mangatarere bless its wastewater treatment reservoirs.

Representatives also signed an agreement between Carterton District Council, Ngāti Kahukuraāwhitia, and Greater Wellington, to lease over 20ha of land for a nursery that would grow poplar and willow poles, using treated wastewater for irrigation.

This agreement highlights a joint effort to conserve the environment and sustainably use the land.

Once established, the nursery will double the amount of treated wastewater being diverted away from the Mangatarere stream and discharged safely to land Council and also signed a Memorandum of Understanding, agreeing to work together to help train and develop the required skills within our community.

Hon. Ron Mark, Mayor of Carterton, said it was a momentous day for the Council and Carterton’s people.

“I am delighted that Council and the Carterton community have achieved this milestone together.

“Our original vision was to create something truly significant and long lasting, and that was appropriate to the change needed: limiting out wastewater to our waterways.

“As someone who was here at the start of this journey, reaching the end of the beginning is a testament to our community’s foresight, and the sacrifices made. Our ratepayers will see the benefits of the investment. They have paid a price for us to secure our future.

“If we are in a position where we are required, reluctantly, to hand over our asset to the new Water Services Entity [WSE]. But we know they will receive a quality asset, managed by a high-quality team. “We ask that the WSE maintains that level of excellence, and innovation, and that Carterton is not penalised for doing a great job.”

Joel Ngātuere of Ngāti Kahukuraāwhitia says that they are focused on working together with both Councils to learn from the past and operate collegially in all future projects in the rohe.

“All parties have learned through this process that a collaborative approach can ease the path. Ngāti Kahukuraāwhitia is looking forward to an enhanced relationship with CDC and GW as we develop sustainable practices that are culturally relevant to the Mangatarere catchment, Carterton, and Wairarapa as a whole.

“We look forward to working together in a mutually beneficial and respectful partnership.”

Further expansion of land-based discharge to remove treated wastewater to the Mangatarere was the crux of the project for Council and the hapū, said Geoff Hamilton, CDC Chief Executive.

“We will make sure the reservoirs can be operated sustainably and forming stronger bonds with partners and the community.

“We are working with Ngāti Kahukuraāwhitia and Greater Wellington to combine our different skills, experiences and share a common goal. By working together, we can show respect for culture, look after the environment, and help our community thrive.

“Our most important goal is the smooth transitions for the reservoirs into our day-to-day water operations to deliver lasting benefits for our community.”

Greater Wellington Deputy Chair and Wairarapa Councillor Adrienne Staples said the project was an exemplar of effective forward planning and collaboration with an outcome that will also contribute to erosion control in the Wellington region.

“Not only are we reducing wastewater in the area, but the nursery’s poplars and willows, irrigated by the treated wastewater, will be used to treat erosion-prone land, and support many landowners.”