Heretaunga Wai Māori is of utmost importance to the marae and hapū of Heretaunga.
The health of our waterways is intrinsically linked to the health and wellbeing of Māori and the state of Heretaunga awa today is relative to the current health statistics of Heretaunga whānau.
There are many studies that have been done, many strategies, plans and policies created by the powers-that-be, and much hard work put in by mana whenua to try to influence all but with little success. Mātauranga Māori experts have countered much of what has been done however their voices are rarely heard over the economic-based opinions and moves made by local government, business and developers. There have been small gains and so mana whenua press on because they know the aspirations of Heretaunga marae and hapū is to uplift and enhance the mauri of Heretaunga waimāori.
Of critical importance to Heretaunga is the aquifer as that is the life-blood of the plains and the at-risk awa puna, pūkaki, roto, rohe koreporepo, inland and coastal habitats, mahinga kai. Hawkes Bay Regional Council is undertaking a 3-D mapping project of the aquifer while GNS Science, a research organisation is also doing a mapping of the Heretaunga aquifer and others nationally via “Best-practice methods for sampling and monitoring as well as groundwater quality data interpretation.” also in conjunction with local government authorities.
Money and resources are being ploughed into this research. We do not know who the beneficiaries of all this knowledge will be, to what use it will be put, and what it will mean for the future of Heretaunga.