18 May 2015

Marae clash with Hutt Council over flooding

8:18 pm on 18 May 2015

A Lower Hutt marae is calling for more support from its local council after the building was flooded during last week's devastating storm.

The entrance to Kokiri Marae, in Seaview, Lower Hutt

The entrance to Kokiri Marae, in Seaview, Lower Hutt Photo: RNZ / Alexa Cook

Māori spent the day bailing rainwater out of Kōkiri Marae in Seaview and using pillows and mattresses as sandbags to try and soak up the water.

The general manager of Kōkiri Marae said water poured into the building, but it was not the first time that had happened.

Tina Olsen-Ratana said it had asked the Hutt City Council for a number of years to sort out the drains on the road outside the marae which get blocked during heavy rain.

Ms Olsen-Ratana said people at the marae tried to push the water rushing into the building back onto the road, but there was nowhere for it to go and it poured back in.

"Over the years we have had many discussions with council over the issue. The last one I was part of was [when] they sent an engineer down who advised that we have done all we could to safeguard against flooding, but acknowledged the pooling that happens on the road."

Hutt City Council spokesperson Brad Monaghan said the following in a statement to Te Manu Kōrihi:

"Kōkiri Marae has asked Council to pay for drainage work on their property in the past.

"Council's understanding is that the onsite pipes on the Marae do not have sufficient capacity to service the Marae operation.

"Council has worked with the Marae to provide advice and design options for the work required, but believes that the responsibility for this work lies with the property owner. The Marae has not progressed with this work.

"Council is happy to continue to talk with Kokiri Marae to help progress work to alleviate the issue in the future, including providing more materials such as sandbags to protect the Marae in the case of future flooding."

However, Ms Olsen-Ratana said it was the road drainage rather than the marae's onsite pipes that were the problem and that this was where the flooding originated from.

"The road is not on our land and it is from there primarily that the water flows back onto the marae. It was that storm water system we wanted them to fix and pay for."

Bedding was used as sandbags to try to to stop the floodwater.

Bedding was used as sandbags to try to to stop the floodwater. Photo: RNZ / Alexa Cook

Kokiri Marae, in Seaview, Lower Hutt.

Kokiri Marae, in Seaview, Lower Hutt. Photo: RNZ / Alexa Cook