Volunteers work to bring wetland back

By Zaryd Wilson

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HEALING WETLAND :Tanea Tangaroa talks Wanganui Chronicle Reporter Zaryd Wilson through the project.
HEALING WETLAND :Tanea Tangaroa talks Wanganui Chronicle Reporter Zaryd Wilson through the project.

Bringing life back to the Kokohuia Wetland is Tanea Tangaroa's goal.

She organised a group of volunteers who spent Sunday in their gumboots, pulling weeds and planting flax along the stream.

"We are members of the public who have come together to bring some manaakitanga, some healing and some remedy to this important historical wetland," Ms Tangaroa said.

The site, off Rogers St, was a former rubbish dump and Ms Tangaroa wants to return it to its former state.

"All these plains were all wetland, the whole lot and you could see it from Rotokawau."

The group of about 20 spent the day clearing alligator weed and planting items donated by the public.

Once the stream's edge was cleared of weed, the group planted harakeke there, which helped protect and clean the stream.

"Harakeke is versatile and it acts as a sponge, as a filter. Even if it does flood, it won't die," Ms Tangaroa said. "We've got some native seedlings as well."

The work at Kokohuia would continue regularly, she said.

"In future ones we'll be working right up to the fence line. We're going to plant this whole zone eventually."

She hoped birds and insects would return to the area. "We hope that one day this area will be a testament to the community."

The work was being done without weedkillers and Ms Tanagroa wanted to use it as an example of how weed control could be done without puting toxins into waterways.

Fresh water was one of her passions and it kept her motivated to run projects such as the Kokohuia rejuvenation.

"I'm from the river," she said. "I've lived the majority of my life on waterways. Wherever I've lived I've always been passionate about waterways. I'm just connected. The water speaks to me."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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