The Ōtara Creek Community Planting Day on 28 May will kick off a wider community effort and strategy to bring about change in the Ōtara waterways and lake.
Planting will take place around Ōtara Creek, which will help restore the natural biodiversity and ecosystem of the creek system. The target is to plant 2000 plants on the day, with free food and drink provided for all who come to help. There will also be a community art piece that people can contribute to, which will eventually be installed at Ōtara Mall.
The event is funded by Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board as part of the Placemaking Ōtara Waterways and Lake Steering Group’s (POWL) serious strategy to bring the waterways and lake back to life. The group is made up of a number of community groups and organisations, including Tamaki Estuary Protection Society, UNITEC, Watercare, Contact Energy, Otara Network Action Committee, Highbrook Park Trust, Highbrook Rotary, and mana whenua. There are others and membership is growing.
“Our motto is ‘When the lake, waterways and wildlife flourish, the people flourish’, which underpins the reasons why this is so important here in Ōtara.”
"We’ve heard lots of talk about this in the past. But this time we have a really strong group from all parts of the community who have helped to create this strategic plan and very much want to be a part of bringing its vision to life," says Stephen Grey, Chairperson for the POWL Steering Group.
“The planting day is a way for us to kick-start the new movement and to get the community interested and involved in the future of the waterways. Because we can’t do it without the support of residents, businesses and community groups. Stream litter clean-ups are another great example of how local communities can take action and make a positive difference.”
Two other sites within the Ōtara area are also being replanted with native species and the group is organising planting sessions for local schools, where students will also get the chance to learn about the waterways.
The POWL plan focuses on restoring the mauri, connection and pride in the lake and waterways in one generation.