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Stream plantings thrive

Volunteers prepared to clear weeds and pick up rubbish are invited to a working bee at the Grey Street Skate Park on Sunday.

The event, from 1pm to 3pm marks the restart of the Waikanae Stream revegetation programme.

One of the Waikanae Stream Care Group organisers, Jason Akuhata-Brown, says native trees and shrubs are looking great and spreading well in the skate park streamside planting.

“The plantings have really thrived over summer and it’s great to have the whole riparian strip along the skate park well planted.

“As usual, the weeds are also doing well, although it is looking like it won’t be long before they get crowded out by native plants.

“We will be weeding and clearing up rubbish at the working bee,” Mr Akuhata-Brown said.

Planting up the skate park stream boundary has been a long process, starting with a massive rubbish clean-up coordinated by Mr Akuhata-Brown in 2011.

Three or four working bees each year since then, with support from a range of organisations, businesses and individuals, have resulted in replacing a weedy rubbish-strewn area with a thriving native shrubbery.

Along the way set-backs have been turned into opportunities, such as when a storm in 2017 caused old willows along the bank to be blown over, damaging new plantings.

“Seeing the damage done by the storm was gutting, but it was an opportunity to plant the bank without having to work around the old trees and the result is a solid line of native plants,” said Mr Akuhata-Brown.

“Regular maintenance has been vital to this work. Collecting rubbish every time we work at the site is where we’ve noticed a major reduction in litter in the area. Another routine job that pays off is weeding, which allows shrubs and grasses we’ve planted to really come away. People often comment on how inviting the area looks these days and that’s a tribute to all the mahi done by our volunteers. We also have a lot of fun and are looking forward to another day of rewarding work, corny humour and helping awhi our awa, whenua and tangata,” Mr Akuhata-Brown said.

Tools, light gloves and rubbish bags will be provided and volunteers should meet at the Grey Street Skate Park to register and get information on the programme for the day. Activities will finish with a free sausage sizzle.

Waikanae Stream supporters include Te Ora Hou, Department of Conservation, Women’s Native Tree Project Trust, Gisborne District Council, Keep Gisborne Beautiful, Tairawhiti Environment Centre, Forest and Bird Gisborne, Eastland Port and Jukes Carriers.

GOOD OUTCOME: The first working bee for 2019 at the Waikanae Stream is planned for Sunday. Plantings on the stream banks have thrived thanks to an impressive volunteer effort. Here workers at the most recent working bee in August last year get stuck into some weeding. File picture