The Mahurangi river and harbour has been choked by silt in recent years as development in the area has continued to grow.
A $5 million injection from the Ministry for the Environment will support the Mahurangi East Land Restoration Programme (MELR) reduce sediment in the Mahurangi River catchment over the next five years.
Auckland Council and Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust have signed a relationship agreement to design and deliver the project in partnership.
“This is a great opportunity to work with local iwi to restore the mauri of the Mahurangi catchment,” says Councillor Greg Sayers.
“This project is an ambitious undertaking, but we need to address the sediment problem. By doing so we will enhance the health of the waterways, improve water quality and encourage native wildlife to thrive.”
The Mahurangi catchment comprises 206.6km of rivers and streams that discharge out into the Hauraki Gulf; sediment is ranked the third highest threat to marine habitats in New Zealand and around 21,000 tonnes is lost every year from the area.
Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust are delighted to partner with Auckland Council to restore and protect the Mahurangi harbour and are committed to developing sustainable solutions with the community to ensure positive outcomes for future generations.
"This project advances our aspirations as Ngāti Manuhiri who are mana whenua of the Mahurangi, and we are very proud to support this great initiative, " says Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust Chairman, Mook Hohneck.
Healthy Water's general manager, Craig Mcilroy believes it is an important step forward for the Mahurangi plan. “Partnering with Ngāti Manuhiri on this programme will ensure equal decision making and more effective collaboration with iwi, key to improving water quality in the catchment."
Projects will be designed to work alongside local communities including landowners, developers, and the farming sector to reduce sediment runoff from rural land, forestry areas, construction sites and runoff from unsealed roads. It will include the fencing of waterways, riparian plantings and wetland conservation and development.
In April this year, the government called for councils to identify projects able to generate employment opportunities and improve the natural environment.