Urban Water Decision Making Project: Learning from the Stories of Nga Puna Wai o Hokianga
This document provides a description and analysis of the factors that contributed to the Whirinaki community installing and managing their own community water supply by participating in the Ministry of Health’s sponsored pilot project Nga Puna Wai o Hokianga (‘safe-drinking water in the Hokianga’). This pilot was developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH), Northland Health and Hokianga Health Enterprises Trust (HHET) after the 1999 Hokianga floods, in response to contaminated drinking water at marae and Maori communities in the Hokianga. The findings are sourced from 27 interviews with various parties involved in the pilot.
The MoH sponsored Nga Puna Wai o Hokianga pilot is a useful illustration of how Government initiatives to address health disparities between non-Maori and Maori can be achieved. The Whirinaki community’s participation in the pilot led to the establishment of a community owned and managed water supply. The Whirinaki community’s accomplishment is a working example of what can be achieved when the determination of a Maori community to take control of their community’s future meets with government agencies and departments working together to provide a positive result for the community. The Whirinaki experience highlights a number of factors contributing to successful hapu development: subsidiarity, partnership, devolution, ownership and community participation.
While the main players in the pilot were varied, in respect to the Whirinaki community owned water supply, the report focuses on the Ministry of Health (MoH), Hokianga Health Enterprises Trust (HHET), Whirinaki Maori Committee, participating engineers and funders.