Waimakariri Wai/Water Journey

Waimakariri Wai/Water Journey – From the Alps to the Ocean

The Walk for the Waimakariri  from 19-September and the beach walk planned for 26 September have been postponed because of the earthquake. Many thanks to everyone who has helped with the planning and offered support so far. We'll advise a new date once the post earthquake situation is clearer.
Best wishes,
Eugenie Sage and Rosalie Snoyink

Our Water Our Vote – Too Precious to Lose !

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The Waimakariri Wai/Water journey celebrates one of Canterbury’s great braided rivers, the Waimakariri.   It is a call to action to protect the Waimakariri as a source of Christchurch’s drinking water, as habitat for indigenous plants and wildlife and a focus for recreation. The river is central to the Coast to Coast multi sport adventure race, for tramping, fishing, picnicking, boating, and closer to its mouth for yachting, water skiing and white-baiting.

To celebrate the importance of all Canterbury’s natural waters a diverse group of 10-12 committed individuals will journey the length of the Waimakariri River from its source to the sea in September.  Their spring time journey will start in the river’s headwaters, high in Arthur’s Pass National Park where snow melt from the mountains of the Southern Alps nourishes the river. Over the next seven –eight days they will mainly walk but also raft, kayak, cycle, and boat the river to near its mouth at Brooklands Lagoon.

Along the way they will be joined by rafters, kayakers, fishermen, jet boaters and other river users. They will visit several local schools, share stories with local residents and learn more of the many ways in which people appreciate and enjoy the Waimakariri.

Agribusiness is targeting the lands between the Waimakariri and the Rakaia rivers for a massive expansion in dairying. Fonterra wants a new milk processing plant at Darfield to process another 2.2 million litres of milk each day while Synlait and its proposed  51 % stake Chinese shareholder Bright Dairy Ltd want to double production at Synlait’s Dunsandel plant.

The Waimakariri Irrigation scheme already takes 11 cumecs for irrigation on the river’s north bank. Central Plains Water Ltd wants to take another 25 cumecs from the river for its massive canal and irrigation scheme. Appeals against this have been lodged with the Environment Court and may be heard later this year.

While focusing on the Waimakariri, the journey will highlight the need to cherish and respect all of Canterbury’s rivers, lakes, aquifers and lowland streams. Proposed think big irrigation schemes, more dairying and intensive land use across thousands of hectares and in areas never before contemplated such as the Mackenzie Basin risks serious depletion of our rivers, pushing nitrate levels in groundwater well above health standards for drinking water, and further pollution and harm to lowland streams.

If you care about the wellbeing of our waterways, who controls and uses our water, and Cantabrians being denied the right to vote in regional council elections until at least 2013 then please join us on the river journey or in the Christchurch section of the Waimakariri Wai/Water Walk from the sea to the city.

Please join  us for the public part of the walk on Sunday 26 September from Spencer Park to New Brighton Pier (more details to come).

The event is being organised by Our Water Our Vote - a group of Canterbury citizens committed to the restoration of regional democracy and the protection of the region’s rivers, lakes, aquifers, and streams.

A detailed timetable for this event will be published in the near future.

For more information please contact:

Rosalie Snoyink  - ph 03 3182632

Eugenie Sage  - ph 021 1553937 or 03 329 3177

Janette Kear  - ph 03 352 5782