Porirua Harbour Trust


May 2024

Wellington City Council reminded of their involvement with health of Porirua Harbour

PHACCT trustees, Phil Teal and Michael Player, spoke to the Trust’s submission on the WCC proposed long term plan for 2024-34.  They urged the councillors to remember that a considerable chunk of the city’s stormwater drained into the Porirua Harbour, that waste water flowed to Porirua and WCC was a 21.5% owner of the Spicer Landfill.   Councillors were urged to give tangible support to the soon to be signed Harbour Accord.  Link to the written submission

Trust and GOPI urge cohesion of effort on harbour

PHACCT and GOPI have made a joint submission on the Porirua City Council’s draft long term plan.  The Chair of the Harbour Trust spoke to a Council hearing to reinforce the submission.  Michael Player noted in an update to the submission content that the long hoped for Harbour Accord is expected to be signed by the three Councils, Wellington Water and Ngāti Toa in June.  “After it is signed please do not rest on your laurels.  The signing of the accord is a start not an end in itself.  The detail beneath the accord will be the proof in the pudding that all parties can work together and not just continue doing their own separate pieces of existing work”.    Read the full submission here. 


Protest on the Fast Track Approvals Bill

Ngāti Toa led a silent hikoi to Parliament to protest against the Fast Track Approvals Bill.   In speaking to the many hundreds on the forecourt of Parliament, the iwi’s CE, Helmut Modlik said “Our message is that such harm must not happen again, that Ngāti Toa’s rangatiratanga over our whenua is undiminished and that as kaitiaki of the same we say as our tūpuna said before us: he Aukati tēnei, Kāti ikonei…this is a line you may not cross!”  PHACCT supports the iwi in their stance.   We too have decried the Bill as introduced.  Our combined submission with the Guardians of Pāuatahanui Inlet can be read on our submissions page via this link.


April 2024

Te Hononga Hikoi

It was the Trust’s turn on 27 April to host Te Hononga (the Wellington Catchments Collective) on a hikoi. With the support of GOPI, the Pāuatahanui Reserve Committee agreed to show a group of 20 around the work they have been doing since the 1980s.  Special thanks to Kim Livingstone and David Cornick.  A smaller number then went on to walk up Christine Stanley’s family farm to see on-farm restoration work in the valleys. A great hikoi on a wonderful autumn morning.

Mark Neeson retires from Trust

Trustees took the opportunity at the April meeting to pay tribute to Mark Neeson, on
the occasion of his retirement from the Harbour Trust.
Mark served as a trustee for 10 years. This included holding the role of Chairperson
from 2017 to 2020. During that time he oversaw transition of the Trust from one with
a dependence on representatives of the Porirua, Wellington City Councils and
Greater Wellington Councils to a fully independent community trust.
Mark’s professional background and analytical skills were highly valuable in the
drafting of many cogent submissions to local and central government on a variety of
subjects related to harbour and catchment health. His common-sense approach
and attention to detail stood the Trust in good stead when it came to articulating
persuasive key messages to officials and politicans.
Following tributes from other trustees, the current chair, Michael Player, extended
best wishes to Mark Neeson and expressed the hope that he would continue to
provide advice on issues from time to time. Mark indicated he would do so,
particularly when it came to issues affecting his neighbourhood of Camborne on the
shores of the Pāuatahanui Inlet.


People’s Choice Award Winner 

The results are in.  Dawn, by Brian Wesley-Smith was the winner of the People’s Choice award in our recent photographic competition.  Congratulations Brian! 

March 2024

Devina Shetty new Advisory Trustee

The PHACCT welcomes the appointment of Devina Shetty as an Advisory Trustee.

Devina holds a Masters degree in Marine Sciences  and also has knowledge and experience in the restoration and management of catchments.   She will bring this expertise to bear in advising the Trust on matters relating to its mission of advocating for and raising awareness of restoration of  the Te Awarua Porirua harbour and its catchments.

As a resident of the Wellington City suburb of Grenada, Devina will also bring a much needed perspective on the northern catchments that drain into the Onepoto arm of the harbour.

Devina’s role as an advisory trustee is as a private citizen and volunteer rather than as an employee of the Ministry for the Environment where she is an investment analyst.

“Trustees feel really fortunate to have a person of Devina’s qualifications and background joining the team,” said Michael Player, Trust Chair.

February 2024

Our Harbour photo exhibition on until 31 March

The Trust’s “Show us your harbour” photo competition award winners were announced at a highly successful exhibition opening at Pataka on 1 February.  Some 125 people attended including community leaders, supporters, entrants and their friends and families.  The exhibition is open to the public at the Bottle Creek Gallery until 31 March.  Click here to see the award winners photos.

Winner of the “Challenges” section award, Peter Hunt, with his photo “Plus millions more” top left.
(Photo credit: Geoff Marshall)

Opening night of the Our Harbour exhibition, Bottle Creek Gallery, Pataka
(Photo credit: Geoff Marshall)


January 2024

Fire at Whitireia Park

Thanks to great work by Fire and Emergency and three helicopters with monsoon buckets damage to the Park was confined to 10 hectares of the inner valley beyond the golf club.  Restoration plantings and some recent mowing of paths are believed to have helped mitigate the situation compared with the tragic fire of 2010.  Nevertheless this is a set back for Robyn Smith and her team.  It’s also a reminder of the tinder dry nature of many areas as the summer progresses, especially long grass to be found around the urban and rural catchments.  We all need to exercise great care and call 111 immediately of any signs of fire. 

December 2023

Natural Resources Plan to fly or crash and burn? 

Four long years since tabling of the Te Awarua o Porirua Whaitua report the Greater Wellington Council’s proposed Plan Change 1 of the Natural Resources Plan includes actions to improve the health of the catchment streams and harbour. The Harbour Trust has made a submission which supports the plan.  At the same time the incoming Government has announced that the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Standards will be repealed.  It remains to be seen, therefore, what will become of the Natural Resources Plan and whether progress on improving the health of our waterways will be further delayed. 

November 2023

AGM records another busy year

The annual report tabled at our AGM for 2022/23 highlighted another busy year of advocacy work for the Trust.  There were changes in personnel too as we sadly bade farewell to trustees Ray Baker-Underhill and Steve Kenny.    The subsequent recruitment of Dr Rob Stratford and Kathy Stirrat has since returned us to a full complement of trustees.   Our big project for the year was the photographic competition.   We look forward to next year when the exhibition of award winners takes place at Pataka from 1 February.   It was disappointing to again record little progress on implementation of the Whaitua recommendations though we are hopeful that with their incorporation into the Regional Council’s plan change for Natural Resources next year will see matters move along.  Read the full annual report here.

Kathy Stirrat joins the Trust

Te Awarua o Porirua Harbour and Catchments Community Trust is pleased to announce the
appointment of Kathy Stirrat as a trustee.
Kathy is a resident of Paremata and works as a Chief Advisor in He Pou a Rangi, the Climate Change
She brings considerable skills and experience to the trust having served in a variety of management
and governance roles in the public, private and not for profit sectors. Previous community roles have
included Board membership of Dress for Success Wellington and Wesley Community Action.
Kathy is keen to be involved in advocating for the preservation and enhancement of the health of the
harbour so the Awarua can continue to provide recreational, economic and cultural opportunities for
the people of Porirua and the greater Wellington area.

Submissions, submissions, submissions

It’s been a busy few months for the Trust for submissions on important matters with potential to impact the harbour.  We’ve made submissions on proposals for waste management, the possible designation of the Northern Growth Area of Porirua City as a Specified Development Project under the Urban Development Act and a draft Future Development Strategy by a leadership committee that embraces the Horowhenua-Wairarapa-Wellington regions.  While we had little disagreement on the sensible proposals for better waste management strategies we do have concerns over the what seems to be a multi-pronged push for major population growth and housing developments.  Our harbour has suffered from handling population growth since the early 1800s.   We’re on a mission to see the mistakes of the past don’t keep on happening and when our leaders say the harbour and natural environment is a high priority for protection then actions need to match the rhetoric.   See our submissions page for details. 

October 2023

Photo competition entries closed 7  November

Our photo competition entry period has now closed.   Keep an eye out for announcement of winners and a public exhibition at the Bottle Creek Gallery, Pataka in early February 2024. Go to yourharbour.nz

Dr Rob Stratford joins the Harbour Trust

The Harbour Trust is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Rob Stratford as a trustee.

Dr Stratford is a resident of Titahi Bay and active member of the Whitireia Park RestorationGroup – preparing grant applications, pest management, tree planting and monitoring of the native lizard population.

Rob is the Manager of Academic Quality and Policy at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University Wellington. From 2019 to 2022 he was an Assistant Principal at Mana College and prior to that he worked as a Senior Analyst at the Ministry of the Environment.

The holder of degrees in Education, the Arts and Science, Rob also became a Doctor ofPhilosophy in 2019.

Rob’s numerous skills will clearly be an asset in contributing to the Trust’s role as an advocate and educator on local community environmental matters.

Keep Porirua Beautiful beach clean up

Pleased to participate in Labour Day beach clean up by Keep Beautiful Porirua which is being rekindled by the good mahi of a local family.   Gear and technical assistance was provided by Keep Hutt Valley Beautiful team. 





September 2023

Entries for our photography competition will open on 1 October and finish on 7 November.   The best entries will feature at an exhibition at Pataka in early 2024.   There are six categories which are open to people of all ages and abilities.  Whether you have a cellphone or a camera get clicking and show us your harbour!   Further information:  https://www.yourharbour.nz

Competition held in conjunction with our partners and supporters including:    Guardians of Pāuatahanui Inlet, Mountains to Sea and Clark Realty.  

August 2023

Another successful planting day

Thanks to the Plimmerton Rotary Club for hosting another community planting day for the Taupo stream at the Plimmerton Domain.   Great support from the Porirua City Council riparian planting team.   Another 1000 plants supplemented the 19000 planted in previous seasons. 

Community planting day 

It was great to see so many of the community present at the first planting day of the season at Wahiora Park in Porirua East today.  Key leaders also turned up to contribute in a practical sense to the mahi: among them  Mayor Anita Baker, Chair of the Greater Wellington Regional Council Daran Ponter and the CE of Ngāti Toa Helmut Modlink.    Five thousand plants were planted streamside. 


April 2023

First hikoi of Wellington Water Collective

Was great to attend the first hikoi of Te Hononga Ki Te Upoko, the Wellington Catchments Collective. Our host for a tour of Tawatawa reserve  in South Wellington was Annie Yeates (centre right of pic), of the Southern Environmental Association. Thanks too to Eugene Doyle for the invitation.


Time to address waste issues

Our harbour is a magnate for rubbish that is carelessly dropped or dumped.   It’s a major problem.   It was a pleasure to attend a community workshop hosted by Porirua City Council where we discussed what’s not working, what is working and what might be done to reduce waste in our city.   The workshop was a pre-cursor to more formal consultation later in the year on a draft policy on waste minimisation involving 8 councils across the region. 

March 2023

Environment Select Committee appearance

The Trust including representing the Guardians of Pāuatahanui Inlet,  spoke to our submission on the Spatial Planning and Natural and Built Environments Bill on 1 March. We highlighted the need to put environmental outcomes to the fore in these replacements to the RMA. We also spoke of our concerns that the bills were likely to replace one piece of legislation with other complex pieces of legislation and make it even harder for community groups to have a voice on planning matters. A link to the recording of the session is here: https://www.facebook.com/environmentSCNZ/videos/590966899290742/ Our slot right at the end starts: 3:05:16

December 2022

Taking care not to put paint or cleanup water down the drains

With summer holidays getting into full swing many home owners are catching up on diy paint jobs. Please take care not to tip paint, paint tray or brush wash up liquid into driveways, gutters or stormwater drains. Handy tips to keep our awa safe and avoid damage to our streams and harbour are available by clicking on this link.  Happy home and environmental care!….
Damage caused to a local stream from a painter cleaning buckets


November 2022

Sediment plumes underline huge problem for harbour

Huge sediment plume makes its way down the Onepoto arm of Te Awarua o Porirua harbour, demonstrating the problems of continuing development and increased rainfall facing restoration efforts.

October 2022

Last year was a busy one for the Trust

The Te Awarua o Porirua Harbour and Catchments Trust held our annual general meeting recently.  The 2021/22 year was very busy with submissions to consultations carried out by PCC in particular.  We also strongly lobbied for getting the stormwater systems right for Transmission Gully before it was opened. Sedimentation remains the key issue facing the harbour and its not slowing down given the volume of construction taking place and storm surges from climate change.   Read our annual report here. 

September 2022

Action rather than planning required to fix streams and harbour pollution

A survey of candidates for the Wellington, Porirua and Regional Councils shows that many have a good grasp of solutions required to reduce the pollution of the twin arms of Porirua harbour.

There is also an air of despair that progress being made is painfully slow and that councils are putting more energy into planning than implementation.

While sitting councillors pointed to increased efforts on riparian planting of streams, infrastructure investment and water sensitive design there was a feeling by most candidates of a need to push for a reduced amount of development earthworks and for better monitoring of consents and enforcement of compliance with consent conditions.

We encourage voters to familiarise themselves with the positions candidates are taking on harbour related environment matters before making decisions on their preferred candidates.

Residents of Johnsonville, Churton Park and Tawa may not often think about how what they put down the drains has a direct impact on the health of Porirua harbour.  Thankfully a good number of candidates in the relevant wards of Wellington City are taking a thoughtful approach.

The  Te Awarua o Porirua Harbour and Catchments Trust combined with the Guardians of Pāuatahanui and the Friends of Taupo Swamp to conduct the survey.   Of the 49 candidates polled 17 replied.

Unedited responses from candidates can be found on the following links/attachments:

Wellington City

Porirua City

Greater Wellington Regional


August 2022

Two new trustees appointed

Saar Cohen-Ronen

Steve Kenny

The Chair of the Te Awarua o Porirua Harbour and Catchments Community Trust, Michael
Player, is delighted to announce the appointment of Saar Cohen-Ronen and Steve Kenny as
Saar is a resident of Whitby and an active participant in several professional and community
organisations. He is an experienced public sector lawyer and has a particular interest in
corporate governance. Saar would like to raise stronger awareness within the local
community of the general health of the twin arms of the Porirua harbour and the streams
that feed it.
Steve is a member of Ngāti Toa and has a professional background in public health. Porirua
is his home and Takapūwāhia is his ūkaipo, the place he was raised and nurtured.  Te
Awarua o Porirua is an important part of his identity for he believes the way to demonstrate
that is through kaitakitanga. Having recently returned to live in Porirua he has a desire for
increased urgency in restoration of the health of the Awarua.
“We welcome the new skills, knowledge and energy the two new members bring to the
work of the Trust,” said Michael Player.

July 2022

We’ve published our strategic plan!    Such documents are not everyone’s cup of tea but we think you’ll like this one.  It’s only three pages long!   Succinct and no-nonsense it states our values.   We would like to see “progress” rather than “no progress” made on restoring the health of the harbour and catchment streams.  Check it out here


May 2022

CBD Foreshore Clean-up

Thanks to Robert McLean and Ngāti Toa for organising a cbd foreshore clean-up morning and for hosting the volunteers back at the marae for a delicious breakfast! 

PHT Trustee Phil Teal & son Elliott get to work

Doug Stirrat and Michael Player PHT Chair bag some of the rubbish

April 2022

Boost to streamside planting project

A big milestone reached today for streamside planting for Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour with a ministerial launch involving the Hon David Parker, Minister for the Environment. Mayor Anita Baker said that nearly $8 million would be spent over five years to plant 600K of plants across 92 hectares. $3 million will come from the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme. The Porirua project will also see 30 full-time equivalent roles created, 20km of riparian fencing and 880 hectares of plant and pest control. Callum Katene, the Chair of Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira, summed up the situation saying that this is all about being a good ancestor and changing the attitude that people are separate from the environment to one where we all see ourselves as being part of the environment. The aim is to restore the mauri, or life force, of the harbour. The streamside planting project is a partnership involving MFE, PCC, Ngāti Toa and Sustainable Coastlines. Fair play to the Council who prior to Government coming on board with funding said they had set aside ratepayer funding in the long term plan for planting work.

March 2022

The race is on to complete stormwater protection on TGM 

TGM workers placing rocks around culvert near Flightys Road section, the day after it was announced the road would open within two weeks

Getting down into the weeds on the Porirua waterfront

Plants are coming along well. It was good to be part of the Conservation Volunteers Wellington as part of Seaweek. The three of us plus our highly capable supervisor, Joe, helped the plants to keep on growing. If you can spare a few hours helping restore our catchments and harbour then sign up with  https://conservationvolunteers.co.nz/    You won’t regret it.  

Compliant stormwater system for Transmission Gully a must!!

The clamour to open the Transmission Gully Motorway will have long term consequences for harbour health if authorities bow to the pressure and the stormwater system is not fully tested and functioning properly.  Once the road is open it will be hard to make changes.  The Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour and Catchments Community Trust has been urging the relevant authorities to make stormwater treatment a high priority before the opening.  Read more  here about the damage done during the construction phase and why getting on top of sediment flow is vital. 


February 2022

Wastewater tank2.png

PCC has given the green light to construction of the Wastewater Storage tank and pump station down by “The Ramp”.   While the Trust applauds the decision to help alleviate current overflows we were disappointed that our suggestion of a green roof and associated close planting was turned down and the original landscaping plan accepted. Another “on the cheap” decision. Time will tell how long the bunker-like eyesore on the city’s f takes to be camouflaged.

January 2022

The DomPost article by Stu Farrant on Water Sensitive Urban Design for Greater Wellington  (https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/wellington/127408718/how-we-should-be-creating-a-watersensitive-wellington) is singing PHT’s  tune. No surprises there as Stu was the principal author of the Te Awarua-o-Porirua Whaitua report. The key point is that it will take a whole new approach to development rather than “business as usual”. Will take courage and foresight by all our leaders – both local and central government – to abandon the habits of the past and implement a water sensitive policy. 

December 2021

Support for Pāuatahanui landowners with streams and wetlands

PHT’s guest speaker at our final meeting of the year was Diane Strugnell, Secretary of the Pāuatahanui Residents Association.  Diane is establishing a Water Catchment Group for landowners who have streams running through their properties to share information and learn about freshwater management.  Subjects will include matters like riparian planting, wetland management, sediment control, fencing etc.  So far around 30 residents have shown an interest.  If you have a rural property with water sources or courses that eventually end up in the Inlet why not sign up with Diane to be part of this positive initiative.   The email address is:  pauatahanuiresidents@gmail.com

Help is at hand for landowners with water courses in Pāuatahanui

November 2021

Storage tank ugly but necessary

A giant wastewater storage tank on Porirua City’s front door step will be ugly for the five to seven years it takes to get vegetation established. The Harbour Trust is advocating for a green roof with weeping vines on the structure to aid camouflage as fast as possible. The tank will provide a mechanism to avoid many of the current spills of raw sewage into the harbour so the Trust supports construction of the tank and has said so in a formal planning submission.

Tank visual immediately post construction


AGM and a new chairperson

The Trust held its annual general meeting this month and reflected on a busy year.  Two items stood out:   The decision in June to formally cease the old trust and transfer its assets to the new Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour and Catchments Community Trust.  In the same month, the Trust’s Education Coordinator, Rebecca McCormack advised that she was leaving Wellington and consequently relinquishing her role after seven highly productive years.  The Trust was truly appreciative of the magnificent contribution Rebecca had made in enabling teachers and students alike to participate in the vital goal of improving the health of the harbour and catchments.  The Chair of the Trust for the last three years, Mark Neeson, also stood down at the AGM.  Mark was thanked for his significant contribution including overseeing and presenting submissions to Council plans relating to the harbour and its catchments, as well as facilitating the transfer of the original trust to a truly independent community trust.   Mark’s talents  will not be lost to the Trust, however, as he will continue serving as a trustee.   The new Chair elected at the AGM, is Michael Player.    Michael, a former public relations and communications specialist and resident of Papakowhai, has served on the old  and current trust for the last two years.   In the third change of personnel signalled at the AGM, the Trust’s secretary, Lauren James will conclude her service this month.  Trust members acknowledged her contribution over several years in helping maintain the efficient conduct of Trust administration.  Efforts to recruit a volunteer to fill the secretary role will commence immediately. 

For more information on the Trusts’ activities over the last financial year check out the annual report

August 2021

Christine Jacobson joins Harbour Trust

Christine Jacobson of Titahi Bay has joined the Harbour Trust as a trustee this month.   Christine, who has impeccable credentials for the role had a career in conservation including previous roles in the Department of Conservation and Porirua City Council.    A keen photographer of nature, Christine is also an active member of the Friends of Mana Island. 

July 2021

Very “on point” opinion piece by Glen McConnell about science versus the wisdom of mana whenua. He uses the  sewage overflows into our harbour and the subsequent rāhui put in place by Ngāti Toa Rangatira as a prime example. https://www.stuff.co.nz/science/300367713/western-science-isnt-keeping-you-safe-from-the-poo-in-porirua

July 2021

Great news this week when Minister Megan Woods announced significant funding for the redevelopment of Porirua East.   This will overhaul the three waters systems in the area, especially replacement of the sewerage pipe in Bothamley Park that regularly overflows into the stream and contributes to ongoing degradation of the harbour.  Link to the funding announcement

June 2021

The Environment Court has delivered a withering criticism of the Gateway Partnership, builders of Transmission Gully, for damage done to the harbour.  While the penalties seem modest in the scheme of things, the Judge’s commentary confirms what locals who love and use the Inlet know – sediment has built up as a consequence of the TG build……    Environment Court slaps TG road builder with $70k fine


KPMG Review of Strategy

In February 2020 the Porirua City Council received a report from the consultancy firm KPMG entitled Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour and Catchment Strategy Review.  The following month the Council also received a report from Ngāti Toa entitled:  Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour and Catchment Strategy and Action Plan.  These reports can be found here and here.

Subsequent to receipt of the reports the CE of PCC, Wendy Walker, was made responsible for discussing with all the governance bodies (PCC, GWRC, WCC and Ngāti Toa)  a way forward from both reports.

Independent Herald Article

See our statement about lack of progress on improving the health of the harbour and its catchments.     2020 08 26 Independent Herald Press release copy

Plimmerton Farm Submission

The Trust made a submission to the Plimmerton Farm planning hearing.  A subsequent hearing brought about few changes to the developer’s proposal.  The proposal was fast tracked through the planning process and the development has now been approved by the Hon David Parker to proceed. Our submission is attached. 2020 06 30 PHT submission on PCC Proposed Plan Change 18- Plimmerton Farm

Catchments View more


The Porirua Harbour catchment includes all of that area of Wellington and Porirua City where water flows via streams, lagoons and lakes into the Porirua Harbour. This includes the Johnsonville, Churton Park and Tawa catchments that flow down Porirua Stream and its many tributaries; the Whitby, Judgeford, Pauatahanui and Paekaeriki Hill catchments that flow into the Pauatahanui Inlet; the streams in Kenepuru, Elsdon, Porirua East, Takapuwahia and Titahi Bay that flow into the Onepoto Arm; Pukerua Bay and Plimmerton that flow into the Harbour Entrance and Aotea, Papakowhai that flow through the lagoons into the harbour.

Catchment Maps View more

  • Catchment Geographx

    Porirua Harbour Catchment


  • Strategy Catchment Map compressed

    Porirua Harbour and Catchment Boundaries


  • Maps2

    Taupo Swamp Catchment


  • Maps Pauatahanui

    Pauatahanui Catchment


  • Maps Onepoto

    Onepoto Arm Catchment


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