Kai Iwi landowners George Matthews and David Cotton are calling a public meeting to address the water quality of local streams.

The meeting is at the Rapanui/Mowhanau Community Centre at 7pm on Monday, March 9, with a light supper to follow. They want everyone with an interest in freshwater issues to come.

Attendees will be asked whether they want to form a catchment group and get proactive about water quality. Matthews has tentatively named the initiative the Western Whanganui Catchment Change and Innovation Project.

There are five catchments involved, he said. Starting from the west they are the Okeku, the Ototoka, the Kai Iwi, the Mowhanau and the Omapu. Together they drain an area of 323,666 hectares.


"It's pretty ambitious - that's a big block," Matthews said.

"We want to make a difference in that area. Horizons [Regional Council] are very enthusiastic to come on board."

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There are so many environmental issues, he said, from microplastics to excess nutrients and E. coli in the streams. Everyone can help to make a difference.

"We have all got to stop pointing the finger at each other and accept that we are all culpable to some degree, and is this the legacy we want to leave? If not, what are we going to do about it?"

The two men want Mowhanau village residents to come to the meeting; also iwi, hapū, farmers and landowners. Horizons Regional Council will be there.

Whanganui District Council has been invited because it administers the lands of Nukumaru Recreation Reserve and runs Mowhanau's wastewater treatment scheme.

There are many actions the new group could decide to take. It could protect and extend fish spawning habitat, fence and plant waterways and trap silt from land clearance. It could invite local and central government representatives to talk about what's coming in freshwater reforms.


It could use that knowledge to get ahead of new regulation.

Matthews said the matter could be addressed collectively "as neighbours", which would be preferable to possible council enforcement action.