Blessing ceremony marks completion of landmark Water Treatment Plant build

The Kerikeri Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) Project is the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken by the Far North District Council.

Representing an investment of $27.1 million it is designed for expansion, to provide additional capacity to support growth in the northernmost district of New Zealand. Kerikeri is the largest and fastest-growing centre in the Far North District.

Ventia has played a significant role as the principal contractor in the design and construction of the new Plant, which will modernise wastewater treatment to meet Kerikeri's increasing needs and replace the existing, decades-old plant.

The construction of the plant was an example of true collaboration between Ventia and our client, Far North District Council. It enabled our team to overcome challenges and adapt quickly to new circumstances which ultimately delivered a great outcome for all.

Blessing ceremony marks completion of landmark Water Treatment Plant build

A moving cultural ceremony was recently held on the site to bless and officially open the new Kerikeri Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) following completion of the works at the end of 2020.

The ceremony was held at dawn, with the blessing conducted by three local hapū (guardians or stewards of the land) - Ngāti Rēhia, Ngāti Kawa, Ngāti Rāhiri - across whose tribal areas the plant and its treated water output is located.

About 30 people attended the event, which included the blessing, official ribbon cutting performed by Councillor Rachel Smith, a site tour, and official speeches by Far North Council and Ventia representatives. Guests also received a practical and highly informative demonstration on the wastewater treatment process.

Blessing ceremony marks completion of landmark Water Treatment Plant build
Ribbon cutting at the Blessing Ceremony marking the completion of landmark Water Treatment Plant build

Across the range of speakers, the common theme was one of great partnership and collaboration between iwi (the local Maori tribes), Council and Ventia, which ultimately ensured the project's successful delivery. 

According to Ventia's Senior Project Manager, Mike Hayes, the new plant - which replaces a 25-year old plant operating above its design capacity - has significant benefits for the local community.

"Once up and running, the Kerikeri WWTP will treat up to 1,000 cubic metres of wastewater per day," he said. 

"This is a significant increase on the current plant, and there is potential for it to be expanded further, ensuring this region of New Zealand will be catered for well into the future as the area continues to grow.

Importantly, the output of water from this new plant will be of the highest quality - something that is always critical to us, but particularly in an area with wetlands and such a rich and abundant coastline, Mr Hayes said.

The project commenced in March 2018 and was completed in Oct 2020. The old plant has now been decommissioned and the new plant is fully cutover and commissioned.

Read more about this project here.