Two Mt Roskill reserves are about to be transformed to stop stormwater flooding and restore the area's natural ecology.
The project will replace a concrete channel and underground pipes with a wider, natural flowing stream and thousands of native trees along a stretch of Te Auaunga Awa (Oakley Creek), Auckland's longest urban stream. Improvements will also include new cycle paths, walking trails, play spaces, a community fale, outdoor classrooms and a beginners BMX track.
The restoration project, which kicks off next month with a community celebration, is being managed by the Healthy Waters, Auckland Council's stormwater department.
"Protecting our waterways is vital to Auckland's identity and our communities," says Craig Mcilroy, general manager of Healthy Waters. "That means improving infrastructure as well as keeping our streams, coastline and harbours healthy and full of life."
Working with the community
Healthy Waters collaborated with the local boards, mana whenua, schools and the community – and received 62 responses through an open day and an online survey last year. The project's design reflects the community's interest in creating a healthy natural environment, open play areas and interconnected walkways.
Seeds of change
The project also led to an innovative new partnership between Auckland Council, Te Whāngai Trust and Wesley Intermediate School, to create a native nursery on the school's grounds that will provide training and employment opportunities for the next two years while also supplying the native plants.
"Te Whāngai is about partnerships and nurturing people as you would your own," says Trustee and Manager Adrienne Dalton. "Auckland Council's initiative here will set the scene for New Zealand and this community will prove the model by showing that funding can produce a quadruple bottom line - with great social, environmental, economic and cultural returns."