We are partnering with Ōwhiro Catchment Collective (ŌCC), a coordinated community-led initiative, to improve the ecological health and human well-being of the catchment. The Ōwhiro stream catchment (953 ha) is located in southern Wellington and is the only daylighted (unpiped) stream on the south coast. It is largely urban in the northern and eastern parts of the catchment and bounded by the ecosanctuary Zealandia, Te Kopahou Reserve and landfills to the west. The stream flows into Ōwhiro Bay, one of only four large stream estuaries in the Wellington Region, and one of the few with known inanga spawning. The terminus of the stream is the Taputeranga Marine Reserve, an area of high marine biodiversity. The Ōwhiro bay shoreline provides habitat for a diverse range of seabirds and shorebirds and is also potential blue penguin habitat.
The ŌCC is a gathering of community groups and mana whenua that are working together towards improving the ecological health and human well-being of the catchment. ŌCC (Friends of Ōwhiro Stream, Ōwhiro Bay Residents Association, Southern Environmental Association (SEA), Stream Team, mana whenua, Friends of Taputeranga) formed in order to coordinate activities and advocate for a catchment scale approach to improving Te Mana o te Wai.
Our work at Ōwhiro Stream
CVNZ has a strong connection within the Ōwhiro catchment. We’ve worked with the SEA for many years, formalising the relationship in 2016 with the establishment of our nursery in Tawatawa Reserve. A longstanding favourite of our volunteers is working with the students of Ōwhiro Bay School to improve the health of the stream behind their school, by helping to remove weeds and litter as well as planting native trees and shrubs. It has been immensely rewarding for our volunteers to watch the transformation of this little piece of the stream over the last few years. We often take our volunteers to the Ōwhiro Bay Community Gardens to see the eels after a hard day’s work.
CVNZ and ŌCC intend to restore native biodiversity along the riparian margins of Ōwhiro stream. As the stream runs next to a roadway for much of its course, there are many invasive plant species preventing native forest regeneration. Our goal is to remove invasive species and replace them with a highly diverse range of eco-sourced native plants that used to grow in this area. This will create important habitat for a wide range of native fauna including coastal birds, native lizards, tuna, inanga and spillover birds from Zealandia. Frobisher Reserve, and the riparian margin next to Happy Valley Park are strong candidates for early restoration efforts. Work in these areas may also include track construction and predator control. Community and volunteer engagement will be at the core of delivering these goals.
We’ll have plenty of upcoming volunteer opportunities to make a difference for the Ōwhiro catchment, including preparing sites for planting, weeding/releasing, and planting native trees.