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Source: Auckland Council

When Aucklanders go to the garden centre they might buy a camellia, perhaps a rhododendron, or even a hydrangea.

But the Manukau Harbour Forum is much more interested in native species it can plant in the catchment area to help restore the health of the waterway.

Forum chair Jon Turner, who also serves on Puketāpapa Local Board, says the forum is set to spend more than $11,000 on native seedlings it can use at Manukau Harbour catchment restoration events.

“Last year we allocated funds to continue with an existing co-ordinator role. Dr Julie Chambers helped us deliver our goals but she has resigned because of other commitments and that left $11,200 unspent.

“It’s a great shame to lose Dr Chambers, who has done good work and been a valuable asset, but we have decided to use that money to fund more plants we can use to help restore the coastal environment.”

Nine local boards – Franklin, Papakura, Manurewa, Māngere-Ōtāhuhu, Ōtara-Papatoetoe, Puketāpapa, Albert-Eden, Waitakere Ranges and Whau – fund the forum’s work programme, although no decisions on any allocations to a 2023/24 work programme have been made ahead of Auckland Council’s Annual Budget.

“Given the uncertainty around funding, members didn’t feel it was sensible to appoint a new co-ordinator to take up what remains of this year’s duties,” Turner says.

“Staff have identified a practical opportunity to use that funding to support restoration efforts in the catchment through the pre-purchase of native plants from supplier nurseries.”