Porirua residents, iwi happy to see native wetlands restored

Source: Te Karere

The return of native birds, flora and fauna marked the opening of a new section of wetlands in Porirua’s Elsdon Park on Thursday.

A Mātuku bird sits above the new Porirua wetlands.

By Ethan Oneroa and Pohaturoa Waenga

Among the birds (manu), both the mātuku and kōtuku were sighted at the reserve. Ngāti Toa Rangatira iwi leader Taku Parai told Te Karere it was an emotional sight for some.

“Last week our whanaunga came past and saw two [kōtuku] on the rock over there and just started crying.”

Approved in 2017, the project between Porirua City Council and iwi Ngāti Toa Rangatira aims to protect the community from overflowing storm water issues.

It's designed to improve the quality of water flowing into the rivers and waterways around Porirua, and reduce the impacts of flooding.

For Porirua City Council Harbour and catchment senior advisor Nigel Clarke, it had been a long time coming. It was an idea that came about between themselves, Wellington Water and iwi as a result of ongoing flooding problems in the area.

"The wetland itself slows that water down and it helps make sure that people’s homes don’t get flooded and businesses don’t get flooded but equally, it reduces the total flow going into the harbour," Clarke said.

Parai said people were "apprehensive" at first.

"But when they saw this [wetland] take shape... they looked at it, they got behind the idea of what it was there for and its purpose."

Clarke hopes the city council can establish more wetlands across Porirua.