Okahu Bay Mussel Reef Restoration Project Commences
OKAHU BAY MUSSEL REEF RESTORATION PROJECT COMMENCES
20 August, 2014
100 years after the sewage pipe that introduced pollution and disease into Ōkahu Bay was constructed, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei are implementing one of a suite of restoration programmes that strives to restore the mauri (life force) of Ōkahu Bay on behalf of the hapū and the Auckland community. Over the past seven years Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei have set their own environmental health indicators and objectives for the bay and have used science to define the exact state of the environment. This body of knowledge has informed and defined management and restoration outcomes that can engage with multiple stakeholders like Auckland Council, Waterfront Auckland, the Orakei Local Board and the Ōkahu Bay Landing.
Ōkahu Bay suffers from typical impacts in an urban setting; high sedimentation, high loads of heavy metals and infrastructure that introduces pollution into the marine environment. As part of the restoration plan, filtration of the water using native mussels aims to increase the mauri and ecological health of the bay. Mussels, as bio-remediators, are known to filter high quantities of water every day and so on August 23 Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei will start the process of re-building the mussel reef that previously existed here. The hapū will welcome the mussels that come from Ngati Paoa in Kaiaua as they arrive. The Orakei Water Sports waka ama crew, alongside the Auckland University and Ōkahu Bay Landing boats, will lay the first stages of the mussel reef restoration beds at the call from the pūtātara (shell trumpet) at 0930 on Saturday 23 August at Okahu Bay. Project Manager Richelle Kahui-McConnell says “This is a triumph for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei because their matauranga (Maori knowledge) and commitment to restoring the mauri of the hapu and the bay is for the long term benefit of generations of Aucklanders to come”.
The Okahu Bay restoration project is associated with a wider initiative by the group Revive Our Gulf to restore the mussel beds of the Hauraki Gulf. Trial plots have been established by the group and monitoring has shown that the new reefs are growing and attracting other species.