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NZ's largest urban wetland restoration completed

Auckland City celebrates completion of New Zealand’s largest urban wetland restoration project

You are invited to attend the official opening of New Zealand’s largest urban wetland restoration project at Waiatarua. The completion of the $5.9 million project will be celebrated with an opening officiated by the Mayor of Auckland City, Hon John Banks, at Remuera’s Waitarua Reserve on Tuesday, 7 September at 2pm.

The restoration will have major environmental, recreational and public health benefits for Aucklanders.

“What was previously a swamp has been transformed into a beautiful wetland for all our citizens to enjoy,” says Mr Banks. “Auckland City is committed to preserving our city’s wetlands to enable future generations to enjoy both the improved environmental benefits and the outdoor lifestyle we are accustomed to.”

The restoration project was developed to improve stormwater quality in the reserve and the Waitemata Harbour and reduce flooding risks for homes in the area.

A network of drains, weirs, bunds and sediment traps has been created as part of the project to slow down the flow of water through the reserve. This removes harmful sediment and contaminants, reducing public health risks in the Orakei Basin, as well as to the wider receiving environment of the Waitemata harbour.

The restoration project allows drainage improvement works to start, reducing the flood risk (from a one-in-100 year rainfall event) to about 190 homes in the catchment.

Wide pathways for walking, jogging and biking have been added, as well as other landscaping including new seating, artworks and extensive native planting.

Historically, Auckland city’s Waiatarua park, and its stormwater flows, have had immense implications in the broader context of the Ellerslie Waiatarua catchment, the Orakei Basin and Waitemata harbour. As far back as the 1980s, the park was recognised as playing a very important role in the management of stormwater from the surrounding land.

The Ellerslie Waiatarua catchment covers some 795ha – the area generally bounded by Remuera Road in the north, the Ellerslie Panmure highway in the south, Winstone quarry in the east and Great South Road in the west.

Previously, about 130 tonnes of sediment and contaminants were washed out of Waiatarua Park into the Orakei Basin each year, causing long-term environmental damage and poor water quality. The efficient ecosystem created by the restoration will remove up to 80 per cent of the sediments that enter the wetland.

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