A small boat launched on Lake Horowhenua has marked a big step in efforts to clean up the polluted waterway.
Named Te Tuna Tapu o Punahau, the boat will be used exclusively for monitoring work on the lake by parties to the Lake Horowhenua Accord.
Horizons Regional Council iwi policy analyst Kara Dentice said use of the boat would remove any concerns weed species could be introduced to the lake by Horizons staff doing monitoring work.
"This removes any threat of cross-contamination," he said.
Lake Horowhenua has been previously described in a report by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) as a lake where drinking the water, at certain times of the year, has the potential to kill a dog or small child.
The response to that report was the formation of the Lake Horowhenua Accord, an agreement signed by five members to clean up the lake.
The launch of the boat yesterday was the first item from the accord's action plan that could be ticked off as completed.
Other ticks are expected to follow. Construction of a wash-down facility for boats at the entrance to the public domain at the lake is almost complete.
Meanwhile, a fish pass is planned for the lake's outlet, the Hokio Stream, and will be installed closer to Christmas.
"There's a lot of work going on," Dentice said.
Before its launch, the monitoring boat was blessed by Lake Horowhenua trustee and Lake Domain Board member Marokopa Wiremu-Matakatea.
He said the boat's name referred to the lake's history as a food source and spoke of the Muaupoko people's desire to return the lake to its former glory. Wiremu-Matakatea said the boat's name translated as place of the eels, tuna is Maori for eels and Lake Horowhenua was once a place from where eels were sourced by other tribes.
The first monitoring trip on the lake was taken by Horizons staffer David Brown and Lake Domain Board member Robert Warrington.
Dentice said this was part of the approach the accord was taking of using scientific data and traditional knowledge of the lake and its surrounds.
For example, Wiremu-Matakatea said he and others were once able to identify where around the lake mussels had been taken from, judging by the shape of their shells.
Horizons councillors Colleen Sheldon and Pat Kelly were among the small group on hand to watch the boat's launch yesterday.
"I really do see this as a marriage of scientific knowledge and cultural knowledge," Sheldon said.
- Manawatu Standard
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