When Rotorua had fluoride

By Matthew Martin


Rotorua's water was once fluoridated - for just six months back in 1979.

Last week the Rotorua Daily Post ran an article saying Rotorua had never had fluoride in its water. But since then a keen local historian and a Rotorua dentist have been in touch to put the record straight.

Rotorua District Council utilities operations manager Eric Cawte said he had an interesting time digging through council archives looking for information regarding fluoride in Rotorua's water supply.

"I can confirm that the central urban water supply had fluoride added from February 21, 1979 until August 31, 1979."

He said the former Rotorua City Council, after much debate covering several years, implemented fluoridation on February 21, 1979.

"At the inaugural meeting of the new district council on April 2, it was decided that the urban section of the new district would be given the opportunity to decide the fluoridation issue by a referendum to be held on June 9."

A referendum was held and the results were 5826 votes for the discontinuation of fluoridation and 1377 against discontinuation. At a special meeting, the new district council resolved that fluoridation would be discontinued.

"At that time, it was decided to retain the equipment in case the Government ever decided to make fluoridation mandatory. But at some time in the intervening years the equipment was disposed of," Mr Cawte said.

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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