A $25M project to address flooding, dampness in homes and health concerns in Northcote while returning the mauri to the ancient Awataha Stream has officially begun, starting with a community-led restoration at the puna, the source of the stream.
Central to the Awataha Greenway Project is the plan to re-establish the stream above ground, known as ‘daylighting’, as well as redirect the excess stormwater to alleviate flooding in the neighbourhood during periods of heavy rain.
Panuku Development Auckland is leading the first part of the urban renewal project – the community-led restoration of Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve.
Panuku’s Greenway Project Lead Sara Zwart is enthusiastic about the project’s potential, especially providing life and health back to the ancient stream that runs underneath the neighbourhood, which will also have significant health benefits those living locally.
“This project has the potential to be transformational in Northcote and to bring about positive change for the community. For many years the stream has struggled underground, causing problems in the neighbourhood. Done right, this project will bring health back to the people who live here and life back to the environment.
“What is so fantastic about the Awataha Greenway Project is that it will connect the community, give people a sense of pride, of unity, of empowerment. While this project will improve the environment, the community will also be able to build an identity around the stream and the greenway that will ground them for years to come.”
Environmental group Kaipātiki Project is taking an active role bringing the community together to restore the health of this important waterway.
Kaipātiki Project’s Kaitakawāenga Hāpori (Community Activator) Sam Tu’itahi explains the greenway project is different from other restorations he has worked on in the past.
“We’ve gratefully received the Take Mauri, Take Hono tool created by Mana Whenua specifically for this project and we will be using this to inform the restoration work in a way that acknowledges indigenous indicators and understandings alongside our western ecology and science.
“This project takes a new approach to restoration work. We’re looking beyond the water ways and the trees to the local community and how they can give input, participate and grow kaitiakitanga (stewardship) in the local area.
“It’s a holistic, community-led approach that will breathe life back into the stream and connect the Northcote community.”
Kaipātiki Local Board is thrilled to see work beginning and is looking forward to seeing improved health outcomes among the community in the years to come.
"Local Board members are very excited about the daylighting and restoration of the Awatawa Stream and the creation of the greenway. It will have a huge positive effect on our local people and environment, provide new recreational opportunities, and reduce incidents of flooding in the neighbourhood," says Local Board Chair John Gillon.
Restoration work officially started this month following a blessing by Mana Whenua on site. Kaipātiki Project will be leading monthly weeding, planting and education days, with the next one scheduled for Saturday 6 April. Earthworks on Greenslade Reserve to address flooding is expected to begin by the end of the year, with the school’s edge portion of the greenway also kicking off soon.
This project is a collaboration between Panuku Development Auckland, HLC, Kaipātiki Local Board, Healthy Waters, Kaipātiki Project and Mana Whenua.
For more information on attending a community restoration day, contact Sam Tu’itahi – firstname.lastname@example.org.