The local community is coming together to help restore the Awarua Stream.

The stream, which runs under SH3 and Airport Rd and into the Whanganui River, has been the victim of poor agricultural practices for years. But that is changing with a collaboration of landowners, iwi, Wanganui District Council and Horizons Regional Council.

On Monday staff from the two councils, along with landowners, iwi members and students from Te Kura O Kaupapa Maori O Te Atihaunui-A-Paparangi, planted native plants along the stream's banks.

District council engineer Kritzo Venter, one of the leaders of the Healthy Streams programme, said the Awarua Stream had lost vegetation and had had stock grazing along its banks.


"The entire stream has lost its shape," he said. Eels and whitebait still live in the stream but in decreasing numbers as the environment was no longer conducive to them.

Local iwi received funding to begin fencing off the stream and restoring it.

"That's the start of a wider concept where all stakeholders take responsibility and work together. We want not just an adequate stream but an ideal stream," Mr Venter said.

A spin-off from the students helping was the opportunity to teach them the importance of streams such as the Awarua.

Claire Ridler from Horizons said the students were planting flax, hebe, and a variety of other native species.

"We want to shade the stream to provide eddys, so fish have shelter to rest in," she said. The plants were grown by inmates at Whanganui Prison and were donated to Horizons.