Children from Kai Iwi School helped Horizons Regional Council staff get 700 native plants into the ground on the banks of one of Whanganui's most popular but problematic streams last week.

The planting was the fourth the school has done on Hamish and Helen McDougal's 366ha farm, and was led by Horizons freshwater co-ordinator Scotty Moore.

The stream needs extra help, he said, because it rarely meets bathing standards due to E. coli but is a popular place for children to play when they visit Kai Iwi Beach. The planting will help filter sediment and nutrients from the land out of the stream.

The McDougals were pleased to have the children's help. The stream runs along the bottom of their farm.


Helen McDougal said the children could now take pride in the planting when they see it, and it was good to get them outdoors to put their classroom learning into action.

The Mowhanau, Kai Iwi and Ototoka streams were each given permanent warning signs last December, because their E. coli levels met bathing standards 13, 8 and 4 per cent of the time, respectively.

Horizons freshwater and partnerships manager Logan Brown said the Mowhanau Stream has been monitored and been subject to non-regulatory attempts to improve its water quality for years.

Whanganui District Council was fined for a leak of human effluent into the stream in 2017, but most of the E. coli is usually from sheep and cattle.

The stream will improve over time, but there will be more improvement if more landowners undertake initiatives such as stream planting.

"We welcome inquiries from landowners in the catchment who would like to add to the good work. There is funding available for work in these catchments over the next year," Brown said.

Anyone interested can ring Horizons' freshwater team on 0508 800 800.