Environmental works along the Utuhina Stream have started this month to help clean up the awa in Rotorua.
The effort is the beginning of a series of restoration works to take place in Ōhinemutu village through a partnership between Te Kōmiro O Te Utuhina, Te Arawa Lakes Trust and Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
Over the next two winters, more than 4000 native trees, flaxes and grasses will be planted along the Ōhinemutu water boundary including sections of the Utuhina streambanks and Ōhinemutu lake edge. Rocks will also be replaced in the stream to support taonga species such as tuna and koura, as well as re-establish trout fishing holes.
Two stormwater filters including a 'witches hat', placed in a drain on Tarewa Road, and pipe sock - placed over the end of the drain near Te Kuirau marae, are being trialled to help stop rubbish and pollutants from entering the Utuhina stream and Lake Rotorua.
Work is also in the pipeline to stabilise the banks of Muruika urupa (burial grounds), and discussions are being held around dredging to reopen Ruapeka bay, which until recently was part of the lake.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Land Management Officer Colin Bates said the work around Ōhinemutu was the first step to getting the environment back to a state that iwi, the local community and regional council could all be proud of.
"Ōhinemutu and the awa are both really sacred to Te Arawa so we all have a common goal in cleaning it up together.
"Over the last few months we have been meeting with Te Kōmiro O Te Utuhina and TALT to work out their priorities and the best way to move forward and already some really positive work has been happening."
Former Te Arawa Lakes Trust Trustee Terry Tapsell said the most important aspect when helping to establish this project was the three parties working together.
"Working together, to improve the environment and ecology in their small corner of Lake Rotorua," he said.
This was something Te Arawa Lakes Trust had encouraged both in Rotorua and Maketu.
"Our lakes, rivers and estuaries need all the help they can get and this is one tangible step that our three groups can take to look after papatuanuku (mother earth)."
Te Kōmiro O Te Utuhina representative Lani Kereopa said water was life, so restoring and protecting our waters needed to be a priority.
"We are also replanting in order to support our taonga species and unique ecosystems as well as protect our village from any potential flooding. Our next step will be working towards becoming pest free," she said.
Te Kōmiro o Te Utuhina planting day
Sunday, May 26, from 1pm to 4pm
Venue: Te Kuirau Marae, 22 Ariariterangi Street, Ōhinemutu.
Please bring: shovels, spades, gloves, water and warm clothes.
Te Kōmiro o Te Utuhina will be providing a meal but please bring along your own plates, cups and eating utensils.