Joint endeavor aiming to bring domain to life
The first planting day of the Cockle Bay Domain community restoration and garden project has seen dozens of people turning up with their shovels, trolleys, gloves and gumboots.
On a recent sunny day, community members, pupils and teachers of Cockle Bay School, toddlers of Cockle Bay Playcentre and their parents, as well as staff of the Auckland Council and Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust (MBCT), joined forces to bring a balanced ecosystem back to the domain.
They’re removing weeds and pest plants, replacing them with more than 1000 New Zealand native plants and trees along stream banks running across the domain to the beach.
Cockle Bay residents Matthew Brajkovich and Stephanie Chamberlin noticed the contaminated water and damaged biodiversity in the area and began to talk about making a difference since last year.
Their initiative finally got the council on board and also sponsorship from media agency MBM. The MBCT, Forest and Bird, local residents and community groups are also buying in.
MBCT’s Kate Loman-Smith says protecting streams is vital for the country’s freshwater and native fish.
‘‘These things can’t happen unless community takes an interest in bringing their will to something.’’
Some exotic plants, like willows, have sucked up the water, making the ground dry for water-like native plants that are important for waterway cleaning.
Weed species are contaminating the water by removing oxygen, which can reduce fish life, according to Brajkovich.
‘‘This has been slowly getting worse for years and it was time for somebody to speak up and take action,’’ he says.
He also suggests people make sure their house drains go into the correct disposal drains, as well as doing proper pest and weed control.
Chamberlin, a playcentre parent who helps engage community groups, says they need people to maintain the planting.
‘‘The domain has been neglected for a long time, but it has the potential to be a really beautiful place .’’
People can find updates on Facebook at Cockle Bay Domain community restoration and garden project. A clean-up day is arranged for September 17.
Students of Cockle Bay School enjoy their voluntary tree planting work on the sunny day.