The Puhinui Regeneration Strategy: Te Whakaoranga o te Puhinui, has been endorsed by Manurewa Local Board and Auckland Council will be one of its founding signatories.
The strategy, led by Eke Panuku in collaboration with the Puhinui Steering Group, which board chair Joseph Allan and deputy Melissa Moore both served on, sets out principles, goals, initiatives and a capital works programme to support wellbeing within the catchment.
Allan says the initiative has been developed in partnership with Waiohua Iwi - Ngaati Te Ata, Ngaati Tamaoho and Te Ākitai.
“The plan sets out ways of working together and applies to the Puhinui catchment, which includes the Botanic Gardens and Tōtara Park, the headwaters of the catchment, and which takes in central Manukau, Wiri and parts of Homai and Puhinui.
“It’s part of a process that will enable project alignment and momentum because we will be able to move projects within the catchment forward and signals to mana whenua that they are equal partners.”
Te Puhinui is a culturally and ecologically significant stream flowing from the Gardens to its mouth in the Puhinui Reserve, almost 200 hectares that include a wildlife reserve that supports thousands of migratory birds and threatened native species.
Water from the catchment eventually flows into the Manukau Harbour, where water quality issues have been at the forefront of discussions with mana whenua.
A stormwater management plan is being prepared to support the strategy and identify opportunities that will include stream restoration, wetlands, ponds and stormwater treatment devices, and flood management.
Moore says the partnership with mana whenua reflects the intent of Waiohua Iwi to work with the council towards common goals.
“As a consequence, the project area has been broadened to take a whole of catchment approach, and that is a great result for our environment.
“It will reduce sediment during storms by limiting stream erosion, reduce flooding impacts and improve the resilience of Auckland’s stormwater infrastructure.”
Regional benefits will follow, including a connection between the Botanic Gardens and Puhinui Reserve via a cycle and walkway.
Allan says that will do a lot to better connect communities. “It will give access along its length to MIT in Manukau, to War Memorial Park and Netball Manurewa, and be a major plus for residents around Wiri Stream, making it possible to walk and cycle without venturing on to busy roadways.”
The strategy also aligns with the council’s Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri - Auckland Climate Plan, particularly around building climate change resilience for indigenous biodiversity, habitats and ecosystems.