Panuku Development Auckland was a recent proud supporter of the Community Waitakere ‘Fresh Water Frenzy’ event within central Henderson at Falls Park.
This fun-filled community day focuses on promoting and highlighting the fragility of freshwater ecosystems and the diversity of wildlife within the neighbouring Twin streams.
The Twin Streams fall within the boundaries of Panuku’s Unlock Henderson programme which includes a key move to revitalise both the Oratia and the Opanuku Streams.
For many centuries the awa of both these streams was a source of drinking water, weaving resources and food for local iwi.
The water brimmed with underwater life including inanga, giant kōkopu, kōura and long-finned eels (tuna) which could reach sizes of two metres and 80 years of age.
Local streams like the Oratia and the Opanuku are vulnerable to pollution which can reduce water quality and habitats for wildlife.
Due to the passionate work of groups like Project Twin Streams and McLaren Park Henderson South (MPHS) Community Trust we are seeing the return of our urban awa (rivers) to a state of mauri (wellbeing).
Events like Fresh Water Frenzy are an important education tool for supporting both mana whenua and the community aspirations for our awa.
Alongside a number of passionate organisations such as The Whitebait Connection, Panuku hosted a ‘Tuna and Taniwha’ drawing workshop at the event. The workshop provided kids the chance to draw the wildlife of the local awa and be inspired by some slippery guests.
These guests were three curious short-finned tuna (eels) contained within a large touch-tank where they were observed and carefully patted. The eels were caught the night before in a Hīnaki (eel-trap) within the pools of the Oratia stream.
"To introduce families and neighbourhoods to tuna in an interactiveway, really builds an understanding and connection to these fresh water fish. This event starts conversations around ways we can all improve the future health for both nature and people within this neighbourhood," Panuku Senior Community Affairs Advisor West Lisa Gooding says.
Eke Panuku is proud to support local events such as Fresh Water Frenzy in Henderson as it makes local educational initiatives accessible to all people within communities.
"Having Panuku involved means we can make even better, more professional events and keep them free, so local families can have access to these freshwater education days without any financial barriers," Community Waitāakere event organiser Sophie Barclay says.