New Wetland Planting to Benefit Karamū Stream
12 June 2018
Community planting events pick up this weekend with two events focussed on the Karamū Stream to help improve water quality and biodiversity habitat.
They set the scene for a busy month of planting, where there are plenty of days and locations to encourage people to volunteer and get involved.
On Saturday 16 June, volunteers will help establish the new Wahaparata Wetland on Brookvale Road near Havelock North. This is a designated ‘hot spot’ area, funded by the additional $1 million raised from rates.
“The original name for this area ‘Wahaparata’ is a tipua, or taniwhā like being, but the site is now more well known for its connection to the 2016 Havelock North water supply contamination,” says HBRC Open Spaces Officer, Antony Rewcastle.
The wetland forms part of the upper catchment of the Mangateretere Stream that joins the Karamū Stream below Napier Road. It is an area known for its clear water and artesian springs closely connected to the aquifer. The adjacent landowners, the Hutton and the Haswell families, are working in partnership with the Regional Council for the planting to be on their land next to the stream.
“The Regional Council has fenced off the area from stock and plan to plant 5000 plants made up of over 30 different native plant species that would have originally thrived on these fertile plains,” says Mr Rewcastle.
Ahead of the community planting day, students from Havelock North Intermediate will help with planting of this wetland. Students from Iona, Woodford and Lindisfarne will also plant there for their annual Servant Leadership Day, the third year these schools have been involved in planting in the Karamū catchment.
On Sunday morning (17 June), the community planting event is by the Karamū Stream at Pukahu (St Georges Road) and is in partnership with Hastings-Havelock North Forest & Bird. Volunteers are welcome to help extend their planting project which the Branch has been working on for three years.
In the afternoon, Bostock New Zealand will start their first planting alongside the Karamū nearby, with the aim of adding another kilometre of riparian planting.
“We welcome our partnerships with these organisations who have shown enthusiasm and leadership in enhancing the stream environment,” says Mr Rewcastle.
The following weekend the planting event will be alongside the Old Ngaruroro (Karamū-Clive) River at Whakatu on Saturday 23 June. On Sunday 24 June, the community planting effort moves upstream to Paki Paki to give a helping hand on the Awanui Stream, another Karamū Stream tributary.
The Karamū is an important waterway as it drains a large area of the Heretaunga Plains, including city stormwater, and water quality is poor. Riparian planting around the edges of the stream and the tributaries, and fencing areas off from stock is part of a long term programme for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to improve water quality, habitats and biodiversity.
Volunteers for the planting days are asked to register at hbrc.govt.nz #get involved, to help plan for the planting and the following barbecue. People can also find details of what they are to bring with them.
Karamū, 151 years old
The Karamū was created after a close succession of major floods 151 years ago. Before that, it was the channel of the Ngaruroro River.
The National Library’s Papers Past website provides dramatic reading from the Hawke’s Bay Herald in late May, early June 1867: “Where smiling paddocks lately greeted the eye, nothing was to be seen but a waste of waters.”
Rain began falling heavily on Wednesday 22 May, which combined with a strong easterly sea and high tides created a first flood from 23 May. A second flood from 3 June added to the problems. These floods inundated the plains damaging pastures, homesteads, roads and bridges, and flooded much of the area where Hastings is now located, as well as parts of Napier in the second storm.
The Ngaruroro River broke its banks in several places, at Puketapu, Papakura, Karamū and at Pakowhai, depositing nearly half a metre of silt in places. The course of the Ngaruroro changed to a new channel further north, leaving the Karamū as a stream. Very quickly after the floods, there were public meetings to discuss raising funds to build stopbanks, the start of over a century of flood protection being established across the Plains.