The small village of Raupunga, 30 minutes south of Wairoa, has running water for the first time ever, thanks to the persistence and perseverance of a small community group committed to improving the health and wellbeing of its whānau.
For many decades, the community of Raupunga have struggled without an adequate and safe supply of drinking water, relying solely on rainwater to fill their tanks. Whilst rich in spirit, culture and resilience, low incomes meant many people couldn't afford water tankers to refill their supplies when tanks ran dry and their health and wellbeing suffered as a result.
In 2009, a small community group, formed to advance the health of whānau within the Ngāti Pahauwera Incorporated Society, took up the challenge of providing water for its people.
They wanted to ensure 250 whānau in their small community had a safe and abundant supply of drinking water.
By 2013, with the support from Hawke's Bay District Health Board's public health team, they prepared an application to the Ministry of Health for funding support to build a safe water supply. With partial funding provided by the Ministry the shortfall was realised, thanks to support from Te Puni Kokiri, Ngāti Pahauwera Development Trust and the First Light Community Trust.
Work began in September 2016 to build the almost $1 million water supply, with the community undertaking a large component of the building.
Submitters said: "There is no greater inequity than not having enough water that is both safe and abundant for human kind. Since July 2017, our whānau have been able to enjoy a safe glass of drinking water when Ranginui keeps the clouds closed.
"When you ask what we have done to reduce inequalities for our whānau, we can answer with the utmost pride: we have provided water, we have provided life."