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National MP for Whangarei, Dr Shane Reti, is very pleased to see Northland Regional Council receive $250,000 to improve water quality at Otuihau/Whangarei Falls.

“The Council will receive the $250,000 as a Community Environment Fund grant,” Dr Reti says. “This funding will go towards their project to lift water quality at Otuihau/Whangarei Falls.

“The Falls are a popular tourist spot and, in summer, get packed out with locals going for a swim.

“This funding will go towards fencing, riverside planting and stock exclusion measures on farms in the upper Hatea catchment, which feeds into the falls.

“Alongside various Northland economic development and council agencies, I’ve supported Creative Northland and Pehiaweri Marae’s initiative to establish the new WaiOra tourism venture, which has the Falls as its backdrop.

“WaiOra had a successful pilot scheme this summer and it’ll be fantastic to see it benefit from these improvements to the local environment.”

Dr Reti notified Pehiaweri Marae spokesperson Joby Hopa who was more than happy with the funding announcement.

“I am blown away with the grant,” Mr Hopa says. “I’m reflecting back on the plight of our elders who over many years sought to restore the pristine beauty of the falls which will now happen.

“I am jubilant and just beside myself with happiness at this grant.”

“I look forward to working with the Council on this project, which will put up almost 40km of fencing and plant 30,000 native plants along the river over the next three years,” says Dr Reti.

“Community awareness initiatives are also being planned as part of the project with open days, planting days and new signage helping our community keep up to speed with progress.

“The National-led Government has an ambitious target of making 90 per cent of our rivers and lakes swimmable by 2040. This goal requires 1000km of rivers to be improved every year until 2040 and it’s wonderful to see Whangarei get involved.

“I’m looking forward to the first community planting day on the 24th of June and know our community will be keen to get stuck in.”

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