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:
Are you working on an environmental project that could do with a boost?
The Community Environment Fund supports groups working to restore and protect native ecosystems on public land around Te Awarua-o-Porirua whaitua. The fund is administered by Greater Wellington and our mana whenua partner, Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira.
Community projects from Churton Park to Pukerua Bay and inland of Pauatahanui are eligible to apply. See if your project falls into the area outlined in the map below. You can apply for up to $10,000 each year for up to 3 years. Projects should aim to restore the native ecology and promote native biodiversity values.
Applications are open from Monday 15 August to 5pm Friday 30 September. Successful applicants will be announced in November.
To apply for the fund or find out more, click here or head to: https://www.gw.govt.nz/your-region/funding-and-awards/community-environment-fund-2022/
Two new trustees appointed
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.
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
We’re looking for two new trustees!
The Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour and Catchments Community Trust is looking for two trustees to join our awesome team. These are voluntary roles. Applications close on 3 July 2022. For information on what the role entails and how and where to apply click on the following link: HarbourTrustseeksvolunteersweb
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!
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.
The race is on to complete stormwater protection on TGM
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.
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.
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.
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: email@example.com
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.
October 5 was a great post-rain day to get 3000 more plants into the ground by the Kenepuru Darts club. Thanks to Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Porirua City Council and their sponsors plus the volunteers from the community who helped do the mahi.
We’re looking for a new secretary!
The Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour and Catchments Community Trust is looking for a voluntary secretary to help keep the Trust organised. This is an opportunity to join our work advocating for the health of the harbour and its streams. You would be present and involved in many interesting discussions on all manner of issues that impact our mission, preparing agendas and recording minutes for our monthly meetings. The time commitment is self-paced but up to 10 hours a month. A full position description can be found through the PHT secretary link. If you are looking for a way to contribute to the community by using skills and experience please register your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Tawa School and Tawa Rotary place “Drain to the Sea” plaques to stormwater drains.
Cannons Creek senior class cleaning up Onepoto Arm of the Porirua Harbour as part of Love Your Coast month, November 2013.