A rāhui placed from Te Waiheke o Huka (Huka Falls) to Pohaturoa (Atiamuri) on the Waikato River has been lifted following the wastewater spills in Taupō in July.

In a written statement released by Ngati Tahu – Ngati Whaoa Runanga Trust, the trust said it asked people not to gather food from the upper Waikato River until further notice after the leakage.

The trust said it was supported by Te Arawa River Iwi Trust in this move.

A rāhui is a management tool used to restrict use of an area to ensure the principles of kaitiakitanga (stewardship) are upheld and to protect the health and wellbeing of the community.


Evelyn Forrest, environment manager for the Ngati Tahu – Ngati Whaoa Runanga Trust, said in a written statement people who normally fished for trout, eel and koura and gathered watercress in the area had been respectful of the long-standing Māori environmental custom.

Some people sought the advice of Fish and Game, who together with the Te Arawa River Iwi Trust, Tauhara North No2 Trust, Taupō District Council, Mercury Energy and Fonterra all supported the rāhui.

Forrest said recent tests had shown the E. coli levels of the river had returned to normal.

Work was taking place to monitor the river's health.

Last year, five sensors were placed in the river by Waikato River iwi and their partners to monitor from Te Waiheke o Huka (Huka Falls) to Pohaturoa (Atiamuri).

Eugene Berryman-Kamp, chief executive of Te Arawa River Iwi Trust, said the "RiverSense" sensors provided information 24/7 on a range of indicators of river quality including dissolved oxygen, temperature, PH, turbidity and nitrates.

The real-time data was available on a digital dashboard and ultimately would be used for modelling land use change and the effect of that on water quality.

A second monitoring scheme, the Ruahuwai Takiwa project, had now been funded by the Waikato River Authority and that final report was due early 2020.


Roger Pikia, co-chair of the Waikato River Authority and chair of the Ngati Tahu – Ngati Whaoa Runanga Trust and TARIT, said river iwi and their partners were undertaking many environmental projects around the health of the river and its flora and fauna, as well as bringing stories of the river to life for the iwi to share with all New Zealanders.