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Locals lead the charge to protect Wairaki Stream

Published: 13 November 2018
An abandoned car being removed from the stream.

The Wairaki Stream is an urban waterway flowing for around two kilometres through Lynfield and joining the Manukau Harbour at Lynfield Cove. It has a lot of native bush along its course, including ancient ferns, and is home to native birds. It is well known to locals for its eel and Kokupu populations

So, when a team of local conservationists spotted an abandoned vehicle in the watercourse, they swung into action to protect the area.

Volunteers Elaine Veale, Dianne McCarthy and Kathy Neilson from the Friends of Wairaki Stream group notified Auckland Council and worked as a team to remove the dumped vehicle.

“Removing a dumped car and rubbish which had accumulated over several years, without damaging the waterway or native plants on the steep banks, was a challenge but we’re pleased to support community groups taking an active role in caring for our streams,” said Angela Curson, Healthy Waters Specialist at Auckland Council.

Locals lead the charge to protect Wairaki Stream (2)
Illegally dumped and polluting rubbish being taken from the stream.

The relatively new Friends of Wairaki Stream conservation group aims to care for and conserve the Wairaki Stream catchment area, including Lynfield Reserve, Wairaki Stream Reserve and tributaries. Local conservation veteran Wendy John of the Friends of Oakley Creek Te Auaunga has mentored the group.

The keen conservationists aim to encourage the wide variety of plants and birds the stream supports and are hoping for more nesting of wood pigeons as well as the fantails, kingfishers, tui and others which are already established there. 

“Wairaki Stream has a lot of native bush along its course but also a lot of pest plants and rubbish. We intend to restore the natural biodiversity of the area including native plants, native invertebrates and birds by removing rubbish, pest plants and animals and by planting native plants,” said Kathy Neilson of the Friends of Wairaki Stream.

“We acknowledge the work being done by Auckland Council and conservation volunteers, and we add value and expand on their work.”

Ensuring that Puketāpapa’s natural environment is treasured and enhanced is a key priority for Puketāpapa Local Board. Working collaboratively with mana whenua and community groups to improve the area’s water quality and naturalise the streams is a key focus of this mahi.

“It’s great to see local action to protect and improve our urban streams,” says Harry Doig, Chair of Puketāpapa Local Board.

"Everyone can play a role in keeping our waterways healthy and improving their local environment.”

Take action

Call Auckland Council on 09 301 0101 to report illegal dumping or pollution in and around waterways. Anything that goes into the stormwater network may end up in our harbours, so it's important that we take action.

If you’re keen on playing a more active role, Friends of Wairaki Stream plan to have volunteer days on Saturday mornings for conservation work along the stream.

The first one is planned for 1 December 10am–12pm at Lynfield Reserve and will be followed by a BBQ.

Contact the group on the Friends of Wairaki Stream Facebook page, or email fowairakistream@gmail.com