A Te Runanga o Ngati Whakaue ki Maketu representative says a diversion of the Kaituna River almost sixty years ago has resulted in a change for the worse for what was once known as the food bowl of Te Arawa.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has committed $6.2 million towards a project which would see almost a quarter of the River re-diverted back into the estuary to improve its health.
Since 1956 the river has been diverted out to sea at Te Tumu, north of Maketu, to protect low-lying farmland from flooding.
Maria Horne from Te Runanga o Ngati Whakaue ki Maketu says the estuary was once known as the food bowl of Te Arawa.
She says pipis and the odd fish are taken from the estuary now but there was a lot more available before the river was diverted.