Heading southwest from Pukaha (Mt Bruce) there is a place of significance in a small lake that Maori know as Hapuakorari. It has been located near the headwaters of the Ruamahanga River in the Tararua Mountains for time immemorial. Few people have probably even heard of it but for those that have it is hard not to become fascinated. This is in no small part due to the many stories that have been attributed to the lake and the name Hapuakorari. Hapuakorari was said to have been a place of unparalleled beauty, a sacred place shrouded in mysticism. For a start a legendary bird, the Hokio, lived by the lake in the company of the Kotuku (white heron), Huia, Kereru, and Kaka. Living between beautiful Beech and huge Rimu trees were a variety of rare plants, all surrounding a pebbled beach on the water edge. Within the crystal clear waters massive two headed eels swam.
“Talking to the River” tells the story of a farmer and a group of engineering and computing students from Victoria University of Wellington who collaborate to gather data about river pollution and publicise it. River pollution is a topical issue, and “Talking to the River” provides an example of people dedicated to making a difference. The article explains the impact cows can have on rivers and the importance of being able to accurately measure levels of river pollution. The university students overcome several challenges to create a prototype monitoring device that is fit for purpose. The reach of the project is extended exponentially by creating an app that tracks river improvements and allows users to upload photos to a website.