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Improving MacKays Crossing wetland for Arbor Day

Improving MacKays Crossing wetland for Arbor Day

Improving a unique wetland at MacKays Crossing in Queen Elizabeth Park will be the focus of this year’s Greater Wellington Arbor Day celebrations. The wetland restoration is a joint project between Greater Wellington and Transit NZ.

Deputy Chair of Greater Wellington’s Landcare Committee Margaret Shields said “This is a wonderful opportunity for the public to be part of an exciting new ecological development in the region’s most popular park. We want as many people as possible to come along to the park on Arbor Day and help us plant the first trees. It’s the ideal day to celebrate the new wetland.”

Cr Shields says that the wetland will include areas of open water, improving habitat for wildlife and will contain a circular track with bridges. The 3.5 hectare wetland area has been relatively untouched since the Marines left in 1943.

Transit project manager Aaron Hardie said the improvements to Mackays Crossing will help resolve some of the safety problems surrounding this stretch of highway.

“The construction of an overbridge at the crossing will help to reduce incidents and increase traffic flow at the intersection as motorists will no longer have to stop at the train crossing. We are pleased that we have been able to make such a significant contribution to not only improving the safety of motorists, but also by helping out with the enhancement and landscaping work to improve the quality of the surrounding wetlands,” he said.

The planting will take place between 10.30am and 1.00pm on Tuesday 7 June. The public will have an opportunity to plant suitable wetland plants such as ti kouka (cabbage tree) and harakeke (flax).

A second planting in celebration of Arbor Day will take place at Swampy Gully, Battle Hill Farm Forest Park on Friday 10 June. The gully has been fenced off from stock and is ready for large scale planting of pioneer species. Ti kouka will feature again, along with toetoe, flax kahikatea and a range of wetland grasses.

Greater Wellington’s principal advisor marketing, parks and forests, Amanda Cox says, “Healthy wetlands have many benefits. They act like a giant ‘sponge’ soaking up excess water, stabilising the land in times of flood and providing places for plants and animals to live. They can also help filter excess nutrients running off farmland and keep streams and lakes clear of algae and other plants.

All these help make our region a more attractive and healthy place to be.”

Tuesday 7 June, Queen Elizabeth Park, MacKay’s Crossing entrance (off SH1), 10.30am -1.00pm

Friday 10 June, Battle Hill Farm Forest Park, foot of Paekakariki Hill Road, 10am -1pm

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