On the section gifted by Rayonier Matariki Forests to Te Pōhue are, from left: Hastings deputy mayor and rural councillor Tania Kerr, Gair Contracting’s heavy machinery operator Pearl Jury, in charge of flattening the hill, and Rayonier Matariki Forests harvest planning manager Andy Fleming.

A very generous gift of land from Rayonier Matariki Forests will ensure residents getting their drinking water from Te Pōhue’s water network will have a safer, more resilient supply.

Hastings District Council is upgrading its eight small community water supplies as part of its Hastings Drinking Water Strategy, to improve drinking water safety, resilience and capacity across the district.

The challenge in Te Pōhue was finding suitable land on which to site the treatment facility and two 30,000 litre fire-fighting reservoirs. A discussion between Council staff and Rayonier Matariki Forests on potential options led to the forestry company offering Council and the Te Pōhue community 600m2 of land for $1.

Hastings deputy mayor and rural councillor Tania Kerr said the gift was “incredibly generous. It was proving a real challenge to find space for this infrastructure, but once we talked to the Rayonier team the problem was quickly resolved and at no cost to our community. We are very grateful”.

Rayonier Matariki Forests harvest planning manager Andy Fleming said the company was delighted to support the small community that it is a big part of.  “We were very pleased to be involved and help make this important water infrastructure project happen.  It is of huge importance to the Te Pōhue community and gifting our land meant that we could make a meaningful contribution to the ongoing safety of the water supply.”

Te Pōhue resident and chair of the community’s water supply committee Kiri Goodspeed said the agreement with the Council that it would resume management of the supply and improve it to meet National Drinking Water Standards was the best outcome for residents. “Knowing that we have a safe, secure supply to our homes and to the school is critically important. It was very unlikely that the community could have met the new drinking water standards alone, and it also removes the need for succession planning required for a community-managed supply.”

Te Pōhue’s water supply will continue to come from the spring that currently feeds it.  The two existing 30,000-litre drinking water reservoirs will remain on their current site above Richmond Rd, however, the concrete one which is nearing its end of life will be replaced with a modern tank. From there, water will travel to the new treatment facility where it will be filtered, undergo UV light cleansing and have chlorine added, before going into the pipe network.

The eight small community supplies are at varying stages. The Haumoana/Te Awanga/Parkhill project is almost completed with a blessing and open day scheduled for October and two facilities are underway in Whirinaki/Esk and Waimarama. Others are in the midst of community discussions and/or the Resource Consent process.

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