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Source: Auckland Council

Deep Creek and Waiake Estuary are beautiful Torbay gems that residents are restoring.

The poor state of the estuary, the spread of mangroves and the build-up of sediment and rubbish called the Restore Deep Creek Action Committee into action.

A grant several years ago from Hibiscus and Bays Local Board enabled the group to commission an ecological management plan to guide the estuary’s restoration.

Now called the Deep Creek Restoration Society; Chairperson Brian Mooney says their aim is for people to be able to paddle the estuary which was possible before mangroves cut off access.

“It’s been so satisfying to see kayakers, paddle boarders and even a swimmer using the estuary since we cleared a navigational path through the encroaching mangroves and overhanging tree branches making it safe for all.”

Along with estuary access, the management plan’s focus is improving water quality, managing pest plants and carrying out riparian planting. The society is tackling the area between Waiake Beach and Deep Creek Road bridge first. Stage two, the area west of the bridge, will be restored later.

Brian says, “The local community has really backed us in our efforts to restore the estuary with great turnouts at our working bees.

“The local board has provided funds for environmental reports and consents so that we can proceed with our projects. Also, Auckland Council Parks staff have provided expertise, plants and products to maintain the work we have accomplished.”

The work is making a big difference to the estuary. The estuary banks are divided into sections with volunteers tackling weeds and pest plants, then replanting with native plants.

Newly planted areas are thriving and, in some instances, native plants are self-seeding including in the stumps of storm-damaged exotic trees.

People walking in the reserve or standing on a bridge, of which there are two, are rewarded with stunning views of the estuary and native vegetation.

Founder member Dr David Gray says in 1958, the Auckland Harbour Bridge, led to the opening up of the extensive headwaters of Deep Creek to frenzied, careless bulldozer activity, housing and roading networks. The resulting silt accumulation invited native mangroves to take over what was previously a wide and deep estuary.

“It is up to our generation to do our best to restore this precious taonga (legacy) that has a history going back to the Tainui Canoe, and Maori settlement, as its name Waiake (everlasting spring of water) implies.”

A pontoon for kayaks, also recommended in the plan and funded by the local board, will be installed near Torbay Sailing Club and the Awatuna Sea Scouts Hall.

How to get involved

Several local businesses support the restoration work and if you’d like to help or volunteer for a working bee, please email Brian at bmooney@maxnet.co.nz.

MIL OSI