The Rotorua Lakes Council's Stavros Michael and Te Taru White, of Te Tatau o Te Arawa, will present a lecture about the influence of partnership at the Rotorua Library next Monday from 10.30am.

They will present their thoughts on how collaboration between iwi and the council can help enhance projects such as the upgrade of the Rotorua Wastewater Treatment Plant and wastewater services.

The community-focused Rotorua Project Steering Committee and its Cultural Assessment Subcommittee were formed in 2014 to investigate alternative options to improve the wastewater treatment and to identify a new disposal point for recovered water.

Its establishment was prompted by the council and CNI Iwi Holdings signing an agreement to end treated effluent irrigation in Whakarewarewa Forest by December 2019.

Mr Michael said the proffered option had to meet several objectives including being life-sustaining, restoring the mauri (life essence) of the water and meeting the National Policy Statement for Freshwater.


The preferred upgrade option that was identified would be able to handle up to 70 million litres of wastewater a day, which is about 50 million litres more than it currently processes.

Te Tatau o Te Arawa chairman Mr White welcomes the preferred option saying it merges both western science and Maori knowledge.

"This preferred upgrade helps reconcile the water's environmental genealogy before being released. What we need to remember is everything in our world including the things we cannot see holds or has left an imprint or whakapapa on the environment," he said.

Councillor Dave Donaldson said the alternative option was a sign of mutual respect.

"The proposed option will significantly relieve pressure on the Whakarewarewa Forest, where spraying treated effluent has become unsustainable. It shows a collective community response to implement a system that is respectful to tikanga and kawa (cultural values) and serves our growing community, while endeavouring to be environmentally sustainable."

The presentation will also look at how adopting science, engineering practices and cultural values in a project can have a greater chance of being universally favoured by the community.