by Wendy Harrex
In 2012 and 2013 many Waitati people took part in planting thousands of native trees and plants in the estuary as part of a project funded by Living Legends in partnership with DOC. The aim? To turn a large area of heavily grassed and wet pasture into a thriving natural wetland and lowland forest.
The reserve is already an important area for whitebait and wading birds. If we succeed in re-establishing the native vegetation, the whole reserve will link with the Orokonui Ecosanctuary to provide more foraging habitat for its birds. For humans, it is already a great place for a stroll or pottering around on the river – when the trees grow, it will be sheltered and a perfect place for a picnic.
This downstream part of the estuary is spray free. In the summer the grass grows incredibly strongly. With thousands of plants and only a few people looking after them, many plants are in danger of being overwhelmed. From this August until May, we will be weeding and releasing plants on the last Sunday morning of each month. We need many more people for the coming season. Come and join us at the Living Legends site off Foyle Street on Sunday 31 August, 10.00 to 12.30. DOC has provided gloves and tools for us to work with. If we get enough people, we want to increase our work at the estuary to two days a month this season, as that will beat the grass. If you want to be on the mailing list and come along, email firstname.lastname@example.org