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Papakura Stream Restoration Project

At 63 kilometres long and with a catchment of 4,100 hectares, the Papakura Stream is a significant freshwater system. Reaching from Brookby in East Auckland to the Manukau Harbour in the West, the stream has seen a lot of change over the years. This area was once covered in indigenous forest, including kahikatea swamp, but most of this habitat has been lost due to agriculture, industry and urban development. Tree cover is now extremely low in this catchment and the upper rural Papakura Stream now has one of the highest E. coli levels in Auckland and ranks among the worst 25% of rural sites in New Zealand. This has reduced habitat for native species and increased sediment and pollution entering the stream and travelling to the precious Manukau Harbour.

The Papakura Stream Restoration Project aims to improve the health of the stream and the wider catchment through:

  •  – Fencing of unprotected stream sections to keep livestock out of the stream and to protect mature trees
  •  – Removal of invasive weeds which are choking the waterways and threatening biodiversity in the area
  •  – Restoration planting of riparian margins, hills and wetlands and to restore linkages between indigenous forest remnants and the stream.

This is an extensive project crossing many different land types. We are working with the Franklin, Papakura and Manurewa local boards as well as a number of farmers and other landowners have who wish to improve the quality of the stream. The project kicked off in 2021 and to date, 12,000 trees have been planted on 4 project sites and 350 metres of stream fenced off. A number of new sites have been identified for 2022 planting season. Outside of the planting season, we will focus on species and water monitoring, invasive weed removal and litter clean ups in the urban areas.

This project will improve forest cover around the stream and its catchment, improve stream quality and educate and engage landowners and community members. Trees planted will filter water of sediment and harmful or excess nutrients before it makes its way into the stream. They will also shade the stream, which is essential for life to thrive, and they will provide important food and habitat for the unique animals that call this area home. The stream and wider catchment area are home to many native species that will benefit from this programme including threatened species such as eel, inanga, and small numbers of banded kōkopu, which live in the stream itself. Increased tree cover will also provide food and habitat for bird species including kākā, bellbirds, kereru, tūī, and New Zealand’s only native mammal, the long-tailed bat/pekapeka, a rarely seen species which is known to reside in the upper reaches of the catchment. It is hoped that this project will increase life in the stream and also encourage the return of more bird life to the area in particular kākā and long-tailed bats/pekapeka.

Our Papakura Stream Sites

The Brookby Project, Brookby Road
Meet Andrew - Landowner at The Brookby Project. Andrew is extremely passionate about restoring the waterways that run through his land and sees this project as his legacy. He has spent the past few years erecting fences to protect the stream, removing huge stands of privet and has planted many thousands of trees. CVNZ has worked at Brookby Equestrian over the past two years but in 2021, this site joined our Papakura Stream Restoration Project. In winter 2021, we planted 3,500 trees at the Brookby Project mostly with the help of school and youth groups.
Brookby Equestrian, Fitzpatrick Road
Meet Bruce and Grace - Landowners at Brookby Equestrian. Bruce and Grace have more than 2km of stream running through their property as well as wetland and stands of mature kahikatea trees. They have fully fenced their waterways and have planted many thousands of trees. CVNZ has worked at Brookby Equestrian over the years but in 2021, this site joined our Papakura Stream Restoration Project and activities have ramped up. In winter 2021, we planted 4,000 trees at Brookby Equestrian and will be back to plant up to 5,000 more in winter 2022.
Brookby Wildlife Habitat, Fitzpatrick Road
Meet Mark and Nicky - Landowners of the Brookby Wildlife Habitat. Mark and Nicky have worked tirelessly over the years to replant large areas of their property back to native bush and fence off their waterways and wetlands. Having even gone as far as building a native plant nursery on their site they have planted tens of thousands of trees over the years. CVNZ have partnered with Mark and Nicky to help with their restoration efforts. In 2021, we planted approximately 3,500 trees at this site and we aim to plant at least 7,000 more in 2022.
Esplanade Reserve, Papakura
Esplanade Reserve is our only Planting site on the stream on public land. Esplanade Reserve runs through Papakura and over the years has become overrun with invasive weeds. In 2021, CVNZ partnered with Auckland Council And the Papakura, Manurewa & Franklin Local Boards on the Papakura Stream Restoration Project. A huge effort has gone into removing invasive weeds at this site and last winter CVNZ volunteers planted 1,000 native trees here. In winter 2022, plans are to continue this planting with a further 1,500 native trees.
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