Tara Okan: Reclaiming and regenerating fresh water courses, streams, rivers and lakes throughout NZ

Interviewed by

Tim Lynch

Tara Okan: Reclaiming and regenerating fresh water courses, streams, rivers and lakes throughout NZ

Tara states this is doable. NZ water scientists have access to superb technology and especially advanced localised software that can monitor and remediate wastewater across our nation.

With the advent of a strong and expanding ‘New Zealand Trade and Industrial Waters Forum’ which Tara was very much involved in - having over 2000 members is an organisation and science and knowledge exchange extending over 5 countries. It is designed to bring about affirmative action and change in NZ in mitigating the effects of industry in turning our water into a more sustainable resource.

We Exist on a Living Breathing Water Planet


Water in New Zealand - As a water scientist Tara states that when we look at our planet from space we see it’s blue and that is because we are essentially a water planet that gives us life - emphasising that there is no other planet in our solar system or that we have found beyond - that is covered in liquid water making earth - unique - and 70% of the earth’s oxygen comes from plankton in our oceans and the necessity to keep our oceans safe. i.e. from acidification. He also is a zoologist and botanist and acknowledges that our planet is a vast superorganism.

That if we take a basket ball and dip it in water - the thickness of the wetness is the depth of our atmospheric membrane that envelops our planet. - That humans live in a very narrow gas band when it comes to living a normal life.

Adroit use of technology as tools to monitor water quality

As a scientist he is able to use lasers to measure turbidity and the content of solids in water and also UV spectrophotometry to determine the chemical constituents and the composition of waste water. With remote stations situated all over NZ monitoring the industry and rivers and monitoring processes within industries to see how water changes form when it is piped into an industry to when it goes out. This technology is an economic driver for industry that wants to use less water or that they want to use water more efficiently as there are increasing costs involved in utilisation.

He says that as a scientist who studies the data, the main interest in water in NZ is based around it being an economic driver - and that the neo liberal expedient of the last 30 years has cause so many ecological problems as a result of businesses not factoring the environmental consequences of the extraction economy - one where short term economic gain causes huge expense to mitigate and rectify. That once science in universities was the hotbed of new breakthroughs of inventions and curiosity. This has decreased markedly.

New Zealand’s Capacity as an Intellectual Driver of Innovation

NZ was once a world leader in innovation and in many ways it still is, however it’s a struggle for a start up company here and many of our inventions end up being bought out by overseas companies flush with funds and so the country as a whole misses out on many unique opportunities. Especially around intellectual property IP.

The good work that NZ water scientists do is on analysing the composition of wastewater and the automatic methods of controlling the treatment of it - is truly world beating - being at the top of their game and winning awards and medals for it.
These scientists have some of the best systems of sorting out - cleaning, rejuvenating, rebuilding or preventing pollution to rivers - anywhere in the world. Do these methods get used in NZ? - and Tara demurs - not very often - but they are used overseas quite a lot. He laments that recently our country has become an economic grocery shop for overseas corporations - when what he wants is a good caring country that will healthily educate his children.

Political Indifference of the Past

Tara mentions that once upon a time (sound familiar) politics changed and government and local government decisions were generational based on 50 years and beyond - that looked well ahead - now many decisions at a national level are based around election cycles, votes and to keeping the status quo in power. Which he states is a failure in our system of governance

Water - H2O - NZ’s Abundant Water Rich Produce

New Zealand is a water rich country, and that is to our economic advantage as our main assets arise from water. Because it is abundant, clean (mostly) it is free, and accessible as a food producer - dairy cows are made of water, vegetables, fruit, wine, mutton and beef are made of water, and timber via trees, that all come from a water footprint - we are fortunate that we have easy and good access to water. We are effective at packaging water into many various forms and selling it overseas and so as an economy - are a water nation. Whereas some countries are steel and iron countries, producing automobiles, electronics and machine tools, whilst other countries produce oil or minerals mined out of the ground. So NZ is very dependent on water, clean fresh water and we need to be conscious of this fact.

The NZ Economy Dairy = $13.6 Billion - BUT Tourism = $34.7 Billion

Though dairy is our biggest exporter at 13.6 billion dollars per annum, he says we are fooled because our biggest earner is tourism $34.7 billion that involves the whole beauty of our country - it may be a little amorphous as is not about money going to one smallish sector of the society it covers a wide ranging area spread - taxi drivers, bus drivers, hotel workers, cooks and chefs and waiters, airlines, small shops marketing people - it’s a permeated product so it is harder to assess, exactly what tourism earns - however treasury has done their sums - yet Tara asks why are we trashing all the rivers in our country, ruining our fishing spots - destroying lakes and making places where people can no longer swim and others - can no longer wade - for an export earner that is worth less than half of showing off the rest of the country to everybody else. Whilst that is only one industry - as there are other industries that use our water too.

Dairy has made strides to clean up its act

Tara admits that strides have been made to clean up the rivers from dairying and that they are not the only ones that pollute - Cities pollute - Hamilton pollutes the Waikato river, Kinleith pulp and paper mill pollutes the river - even geothermal energy pollutes the Waikato river. Listen to the arsenic story - and the need for better technologies.

Lack of Accountability

A milk order of $50 million was sent back to NZ from China being a baby formula incident, due to contamination by water. Others also have suffered the same fate. Listen

Our National Body is letting NZ down because there are ‘no country wide’ standards. Listen

Regional Councils could do far better regarding water. For example - there was a business here in NZ, that wanted to pump pollutants into a river and the Regional Council said - you can’t do that! - that’s our river! We like our river.
As we all know that once pollutants are in a river it affects the whole river down stream - so instead of building a wastewater treatment plant and treat their polluted water - (that upon complying with certain standards they could then pump that water into the river). This business went ahead and just built a cheap 94 metre pipeline over the fence/ border to the other Regional Council who did not care what was put in the river or not - so they off loaded their responsibility at the same time polluting the river and getting away with it.
Because the two different Regional Councils had different regulations.

Rivers being equated to living entities especially within Maoridom.

He talks about the spiritualisation of rivers as having the same rights as a human - such as the Whanganui - but we did not take this further due to other issues to be addressed.
https://www.ourplanet.org/articles/new-zealand-government-acknowledges-a-river-as-a-living-entity-and-a-park-as-having-human-rights

He talks about some frustrations around going to extremes in spiritualisation of such water and products - listen. These matters need addressing through better education.

Tara then tells of certain inequalities and distortions around lack of integrity with regard to water and the fact that the Regional Council are uncoordinated across NZ, and most are election driven. He gives examples that need to be urgently addressed and in a good number of cases explains how ‘the law is an ass.’ So if you are a water person, an activist and someone who cares - this insightful interview needs your attention.

The NZ Trade and Industrial Waters Forum
The NZ Trade and Industrial Waters Forum, which Tara was very much involved - with over 2000 members is an organisation and ‘science and knowledge exchange’ extending over 5 countries and growing - which is designed to bring about affirmative change in NZ with mitigating the effects of industry by turning our water into a more sustainable resource.

He talks about the cowboy system …

Councils requiring the ‘know how’ as well as having ethics embedded throughout the council business. Many people, though essentially very good humans, are voted onto a local Council but, for example - when it comes to building a $40 million wastewater treatment plant - they are not equipped educationally with the rigour and skills to decide on the viability of such a treatment plant.

In years gone by - all Councils actually had their own in-house expertise such as engineers to be able to take care of such situations. Councils had wastewater engineers, structural and civil engineers, it had a planning department - however, sometime ago the NZ Government asked Councils to become more cost effective and so all these ‘experts’ were ‘let go’ - but then afterwards the Council’s realised that they needed such expertise - however the fired experts in many cases had by now become ‘consultants’ and there are instances where when they were once saving Council ratepayers money, they then in a number of cases were now able to ‘capitalise on their situation’ and things got out of hand. Listen

There is a story about how a NZ Council - lost the plot for its ratepayers - listen to this one …
Listen also to how Wanaka Council in the South Island shows how successful a Council can be.

Check out the peer review process - one is in relation to IPENZ - Institute Professional Engineers of NZ.
One of the downsides of their processes that hampers peer reviews is that you are not allowed to use hindsight. Listen - so if they have already built say 5 waste water plants and they don’t work - that’s irrelevant because it is assumed that everybody will learn from their past mistakes.

Also you can not question the data - so if the information to build the plant is supplied to the consultant and it’s given to the peer reviewer and they look at it and the peer reviewer says - this information is rubbish - this information is not what is going into that plant … and they say … Oh yeah, but this … - and they then say no no, that’s not the question - if that data is the right data is that the right design?

And they go yeah but it’s not the right data - no no that is not the question, if that data is given to you is that the right design and they go … w-e-l-l … yes and they go TICK - right - and that’s the right plant then - but that is not the case, because the data is rubbish. Listen

To the OAR - the Operational Assessment Process - checks and balances. There is no system like this in NZ. It needs to come here.

This very needed interview covers.
Water bottling in NZ and plastic bottles
The Green Party and that they are a consensus party

There is power in the people - we have just forgotten it

Rivers and streams - that the water clarity is such that a river is: walkable, wade-able and swim-able but don’t put your head under the water … That in relations to this, there is some very deceptive spin by the previous administration

In Tim’s younger life he was able to swim and drink in the stream that flowed through the back of his family farm. Not any more.

Farmers and good riparian rights - challenges of farmers to fence off drains as being far too expensive for the average farmer. This is an issue that has huge costs involved.

Change of consciousness needed to understand our relationship with the land and a living ecology

Purpose of our Nation

To be born - grow in health - and be able to live your life freely - that

Gutted bio security at our borders, lacks cash and needs to be reinforced and grown.

Community involvement

Engagement of people

Get around the table create the dialogue and start the change

I asked him the question about 1080 - his reply - that it’s a can of worms.

Glyphosate

Glyphosate in NZ Water? https://www.greenparty.org.uk/.../green-party-meps-peed...
I omitted to ask him about Glyphosate in the waterways as on the 13 of May 2016 a group of 48 Members of the European Parliament (MEP) took part in a symbolic urine test ahead of the European Parliament vote to oppose the EU Commission’s proposal to relicense the controversial toxic substance until 2031.
The inspiration behind what was labelled the #MEPee test was the results of a recent study in Germany which found that 99.6% of people tested were found to have glyphosate residue in their urine.

The results reveal that every MEP tested has been found to have glyphosate traces in their urine, with the average concentration being 1.73ng/ml. That level is more than 17 times the safe limit for drinking water. The lowest level found among the group was 0.17ng/ml, almost double the safe level. If this being the case, that means that glyphosate molecules are suspended in the human body and humans a walking time bombs. Because we are an experiment in motion.

In a previous GreenplanetFM.com interview with Dr Meriel Watts, by Lisa Er this is what was said.
NZ’s Government Department NIWA, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, tested the water of Auckland harbour and were very concerned at the level of glyphosate in the water - Yet the National Government of the day was ignoring the aquatic environment.
https://www.ourplanet.org/greenplanetfm/dr-meriel-watts-our-food-is-denatured-through-chemical-use-nz

The fluoride question came up too, as GreenplanetFM.com is an activist program and if you wish to listen to two noted overseas health professionals this interview is an ear-opener.
https://www.ourplanet.org/greenplanetfm/professor-paul-connett-dr-bill-hirzy-the-danger-of-fluoride

In Conclusion

There were many other questions that I needed ask to drill down further - however that will have to await to another time. This interview I trust will be listened to by not only to the layperson, but scientists in general and local and regional body councillors as we now work together to not only pull the strings of community together, but as a nation cooperate and collaborate together so as to regenerate and renew our commitment to a clean, green New Zealand. A country that is not only a moral force for good, but also that we are a living example of a mature, independent nation, being a fair and honest player on the world stage.

An interview from a courageous scientist that will bring home to you the imperative of more transparent Governance.


1) Industrial Waters email - tara@nztiwf.org.nz

The New Zealand Trade and Industrial Waters Forum

2) Here is the link for the New Zealand Trade and Industrial waters Forum group on LinkedIn

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4484284

3) The link for the industrial waters conference 2018 - http://www.confer.co.nz/iw2018/
there is a lot of what we do here and contacts for the committee

Note These scientists are basically a technical organisation. They don't really have a social media presence yet - and admit they are not public friendly - but are scientist friendly. :)

Meanwhile as we all slept last night in our crew quarters all around our majestic planet - spaceship earth - whilst turning on her axis continued on her predestined path onwards in our galactic journey that some are saying is to a grand destination that we know not of.

Yes, that is right, as the 7.5 billion crew share breath that the ship automatically and in many ways magically provides - we are also becoming aware that our water supply has to be venerated - in that our ship has also supplied us with fresh water for eons and it has only recently that we have forgotten its importance and the urgency now is to cherish these transparent, life giving - liquid molecules that constitute up to 70% of our body.

Yes, this is all food for thought as we realise that we are more than we have ever dreamed possible, due to certain crew coming into the understanding that the purpose for existence is to awaken and find out the purpose for existence - this time is now.

Dear crew the long sleep is now over …


Leave a Comment


Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch, is a New Zealander, who is fortunate in that he has whakapapa, or a bloodline that connects him to the Aotearoan Maori. He has been involved as an activist for over 40 years - within the ecological, educational, holistic, metaphysical, spiritual & nuclear free movements. He sees the urgency of the full spectrum challenges that are coming to meet us, and is putting his whole life into being an advocate for todays and tomorrows children. 'To Mobilise Consciousness.'

Archive