River planting protects environmentent
Volunteers plant 1000 flax and natives with the aim of improving water quality and providing shade
This is great because this means we are futureproofing our region. Arapera Paewai, project co-ordinator
At its source in the foothills of the Ruahine Ranges, behind Norsewood, the Manawatu¯ River is just a trickle, but it plays a huge part in the environmental and ecological makeup of our district.
In 2013, 50 volunteers planted 1500 native trees and flax at the headwaters of the river, followed by another 4200, helping to clean up one of the most unique rivers in the world. The plantings are improving water quality and providing shade and lowering levels of nutrients, E. coli and sediment in the river which is the habitat for the dwarf galaxia, small native fish known as ko¯kopu by local Ma¯ori. This is the only place in the region they can be found.
On Sunday, Rangitane o Tamaki nui a Rua hosted a planting day, with 1000 flax and natives filling in the gaps from the original planting day in 2013.
“We’re planting everything from flaxes, to cabbage trees and lacebarks, anything which suits the area,” Arapera Paewai, project co-ordinator for the Tu Te Manawa project, said.
“This is great because this means we are future-proofing our region. This is a good start for our environment, with the flaxes setting up the eco-system for everything else and the natives providing a good environment for birds and insects.”
On Saturday, 25 people turned up in beautiful weather for a planting day on Bluff Rd in Woodville.
“It was a fabulous day, with lots of young people from Woodville pitching in,” Arapera said.
“So many people made quick work of the job.”
The first stages of a whare are under way at the headwaters of the Manawatu¯ River and will provide cultural and community information about the river and Norsewood.
“We will also be carrying out water monitoring at this site,” Arapera said.
One Norsewood couple dedicated to our environment are Gavin and Kathryn Mulinder. Gavin is a keen fisherman. “We’re trying to do something for the river and as a fisherman I know we’ve got to look after our environment,” he said.
“People say, ‘oh, it will be all right’, but it won’t if we don’t do our bit.”
Kathryn said it was awesome being part of this important restoration project.
“I call it our plantnership,” she said.
“This is how we spend our days. We used to go canoodling, but now we plant trees.”
While Gavin dug the holes, Kathryn planted and “released” earlier planted specimens from the vegetation which had been protecting them.
“You can hear them breathing,” she said.
Arapera said the 5-year-old plants needed to be set free now and will quickly triple in size.
The plantings are part of the Manawatu¯ River Leader’s Accord and the restoration project is a joint programme between landowners, hapu¯, iwi, Tararua District Council, Horizons Regional Council and the Ministry for the Environment.
Arapera Paewai, project co-ordinator for the Tu Te Manawa project, at the source of the Manawatu¯ River behind Norsewood on Sunday morning for the latest planting efforts.
Brigham Kingi, administrator for the project, with some of the 1000 plants which were planted at the source of the Manawatu¯ River on Sunday.
Norsewood couple Gavin and Kathryn Mulinder have helped plant the banks of the Manawatu¯ River at its source since the first project in 2013.
Norsewood’s Kathryn Mulinder busy “releasing” existing plantings from their surrounding vegetation which had protected them when first planted.