New dam

PHOTO:TE RARAWA/SUPPLIED The site of Te Rarawa’s water storage lake Te Tupehau – the wind-swept sandhills along Te Oneroa a Tōhē [Ninety Mile Beach] will store enough water to fill 140 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

The Far North iwi that gave some of its water to Kaitaia to stop the town running dry is building a dam to ensure better resilience in times of drought.

Te Rarawa will use the water storage lake to convert its farmland from dairy to higher-value horticulture, creating up to 30 extra peak-season jobs.


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But the dam is also about reducing pressure on Aupōuri aquifer, which is under pressure from the likes of avocado orchards.

Te Rarawa chairman Haami Piripi said water storage was essential for future sustainability.

“As Māori, we regard water as taonga. It must be treated with utmost respect, especially in these times where we’re facing severe drought and water shortages,” he said.