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Source: Auckland Council

Around 60 Conservation Volunteers NZ members have planted 1000 trees and flax bushes at the Brookby Wildlife Habitat property to launch the Papakura Stream Restoration Project.

The project unites Auckland’s three most southern local boards, landowners, Healthy Waters, and industry, to protect a stream that flows through the Franklin, Papakura and Manurewa areas.

Those boards are all funding work in the project, which fences the waterway with fenceposts made from recycled plastic by Future Post at Waiuku, and large-scale planting.

Property owners Mark and Nicky Auld have been championing environmental measures for more than a decade, creating wetlands, attacking weeds, and growing and planting out the stream’s banks.

Franklin Local Board Deputy chair Angela Fulljames joined her colleague Malcolm Bell at the launch and says without the couple’s vision the project would be impossible.

“We’re lucky to have owners who take land out of production to make the environment better. We hear about dirty dairying,m but we don’t hear about environmental champions like Nicky and Mark, who are absolutely committed to seeing the stream protected.”

Papakura board chair Brent Catchpole says the project’s aim is to restore and protect the stream, its banks and water quality, a vital habitat for native species.

Manurewa chair Joseph Allan says the project is an ambitious one because it involves three boards as the stream finds its way to the Manukau Harbour.

“This involves work on public and private land, so we have to work with farmers and landowners, and the support of the businesses who are helping fund things and providing willing hands to plant is crucial. Together, we can make a difference.”

Franklin chair Andy Baker also saluted industry support. “The wetland is ultimately fenced out of Waiuku, an initiative sponsored by Mondelēz, better known for Cadbury and Oreo, but without whom this project would be impossible. It’s fantastic to also have Fonterra and even folk from the beauty industry in Beachlands all joining in to protect this waterway.”

Papakura Stream flows more than 60 kilometres from its Brookby headwaters to the Manukau via the Pahurehure inlet, its catchment covering more than 4000 hectares, land once covered in natives in the upper catchments, and kahikatea swamp forest in the lower reaches.

Much of the original habitat was lost to agriculture, industry, and development. Wetland drainage saw a reduction in forest cover, hitting habitat for native species hard and increasing pollutants finding their way to the harbour.

The project still needs partners to provide funds and in-kind support, while landowners along the stream have an open invitation to participate, and anyone interested in volunteering can contact Conservation Volunteers NZ here.