The latest press statement from the office of Kiritapu Allan serves as a reminder that this is a country where science is being positively blended with – or negatively debased by – a knowledge and belief system known as mātauranga Māori.
The press statement looks innocent enough. It tells us the Associate Minister for the Environment, Kiri Allan, is urging all New Zealanders to give feedback on proposed changes aimed at making drinking water safer.
“The current regulations are not fit for purpose and don’t offer enough protection, particularly for those whose water comes from smaller supplies,” Kiri Allan said.
“This was highlighted in the 2016 campylobacter outbreak in Havelock North when close to 60 people were hospitalised.
“We are proposing improvements in three areas; standardising the way we define source water areas, strengthening regulation of activities around water sources, and adding more water suppliers to the register.”
Allan impedes the comfortable digestion of her statement by English-speaking readers at this juncture by melding two languages:
“The changes recognise Te Mana o te Wai, the fundamental importance of water to the health and wellbeing of our people and our environment.” Continue reading “We can gauge volumes of water and count contaminants – but measuring the mauri may be challenging for modern scientists”