Ko wai koe? ~ Are you water?

Water for Life shares stories and information about the water that sustains the growing city of Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland.

In te reo Māori, the greeting "Ko wai koe?" can be interpreted in two ways. The direct translation is "Who are you?" while the symbolic translation is "Are you water?" or "What waters define who you are?"

These translations reflect how important water is to all of us, collectively as people - it makes us, it flows through us and connects us. 

Through this website you can learn about what we do at Watercare, to deliver safe drinking water to households and businesses, and treat your wastewater once it leaves. 

Understanding what you can do to care for Auckland's water means together we can preserve this precious resource.

Discover the great resources available for what kids can do to become Water Guardians. Or, if your school is looking for hands-on science lessons, check out our free Water Education Programme.

Read on and follow the important journey this taonga - this treasure - takes through our land, our city and our lives, from sky to sea.

Ko wai ahau ~ I am water

I fall as rain on to the whenua – the land – to begin my journey from sky to sea. I bring life to everything I touch along the way. Plants, people, birds and animals. Everything.

Water is to be enjoyed, and generally Auckland's temperate and maritime climate provides plenty of seasonal rainfall. It's difficult to predict exactly how these patterns will play out year-on-year, but as our population grows and demand from residents and businesses inevitably rises, collectively it's important to understand, cherish and preserve our water supply. 

Ko te wai te toto o te whenua ~ I touch the land

When I fall from the clouds, I touch the land in the Hūnua and Waitākere ranges. Here all my drops come together, becoming a trickle, then a stream, flowing into a lake, captured by a dam.

The Hūnua and Waitākere ranges are home to 10 dams and play a vital role in Auckland's water supply. The region also gets its water from the Waikato and Hoteo rivers as well as several groundwater sources. These sources are the first stage of a process that sees our water travel all the way through the city and to the sea.

Ka rere ~ I flow

I flow from the ranges to the people’s homes and businesses. Along the way, I pass safely through the city’s treatment plants, reservoirs and pipes. In these places, I experience the people’s guardianship and care up close. 

As water flows from the region’s water sources to our homes and workplaces, it enters a complex infrastructure network that treats, stores and transports it. We are constantly renewing, upgrading, expanding and future-proofing this infrastructure.  

Ka whakamahia ahau ~ I am put to use

I give myself to the land and its people. In return, the people are my guardians and my carers. We are connected – I am water and so are the people. 

Aucklanders depend on water and it flows into some of our most precious moments – our morning showers, our first coffees, our family bath times. But sometimes we take our water for granted, because we are lucky enough to live in a place that has a clean and plentiful supply. It’s time we all understood our responsibility to take care of the water that takes care of us.

Ka hōroia ahau ~ I am treated

When I leave people’s bathrooms, kitchens and workplaces, I become wastewater. I flow back into a system that has one important job: to prepare me for a safe return to the natural environment. 

There are several key stages in wastewater treatment. In Auckland, we manage this in the best way possible to keep people and the environment healthy.

Ka hoki mai ~ I return

I am always seeking to return to the sea, back to the Waitematā, Manukau and Kaipara harbours, the places where people swim, surf, fish and gather kaimoana. 

It is vital to our wellbeing that our water is clean when it reaches the places where water and people reconnect. When the water is healthy, the people are healthy too. 

After all - nā wai koe. You are water.

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