Partnerships help roll out freshwater enhancement projects

Horizons Regional Council are supporting Ngaa Rauru’s ambitious planting project at the Ototoka Stream, which has been underway over the last couple of weeks. 

Te Wai Koiora is the name of Ngaa Rauru's Te Mana o te Wai project, co-funded and administered by the Ministry for the Environment. The restoration project is aimed towards improving water quality and habitat in streams within Ngaa Rauru’s rohe (area).
Horizons Freshwater Co-ordinator Clare Ridler has been working with Ngaa Rauru as the project has evolved.
“We assisted Ngaa Rauru on the initial Te Mana o Te Wai funding application about two years ago, focusing on enhancement works for three streams in our Region. Both Horizons and iwi were really happy to see the funding from the Ministry for the Environment approved,” says Ms Ridler.
“Our freshwater team has since been advising on plant species and logistics as well as providing grant funding towards the waterway restoration.”
Over 4,000 native trees and flaxes are being planted on the side of the stream near Pakaraka Pa owned by iwi member Ruta Broughton with help from a probation service planting team, while Fordell Weed Spraying’s professional planting team are working on the steeper land. 
“Doing some planting here has been in our marae’s long term environmental plan for the stream,” says Ms Broughton.  
“The big goal is to make the quality of the water drinkable. We want to leave a legacy for our grandchildren, the future generations. As kaitiaki (guardians) of the land ensuring the care and welfare of the land is paramount.
“We had a goal of putting in 1,000 plants per year, and are overjoyed to be able to be planting so many this year to really kick start the project. The whenua [land] will now be able to start it’s healing process.
“Nearby landowners have helped both with fencing logistics, and by moving plants with their tractors closer to the planting areas. The community effort has been highly appreciated as it’s helped to speed the project up and reduce the hard work of manually carrying the plants long distances,” says Ms Broughton.
Ngaa Rauru project co-ordinator Alan Davis says that since the start of the restoration project in June last year, approximately 530m of fencing has been built to exclude stock grazing from the Ototoka gully upstream of SH3.
“We are seeing the project coming to fruition with the plants now onsite and getting in the ground. It’s a large, ambitious project, but good team work has seen a vision become reality,” says Mr Davis.
Whanganui District Council own part of the gully also, and are providing funding to plant their side of the hill to minimise erosion and ensure the project comes together as a whole. 
Senior stormwater engineer Kritzo Venter was keen to collaborate with the project as it will not only help to reduce sediment entering the stream, but also help to protect infrastructure the council owns related to the William Birch Pools. 
“It’s great to be able to collaborate with Ngaa Rauru and Horizons on this project, which will have benefits to the Ototoka Stream,” said Mr Venter.