Paying tribute to the Avon Ōtākaro Network

This month, I want to pay tribute to the amazing volunteers who so willingly give their time to the Avon Ōtākaro Network.  The network presented to the Christchurch West Melton Zone Committee at a recent meeting and it demonstrated the power of a group of committed individuals to achieve amazing results.

The Network highlighted examples of a few of their work programmes including the Mahinga Kai exemplar on Avon Drive Reserve.  To date, this has been a four-year programme of volunteer work which has resulted in 12% of the 11 hectares of land being planted with over 6250 native plants. The Network has managed over 35 planting events involving nearly 9000 hours of time.

Unlocking Curious Minds

Part of the Mahinga Kai exemplar involves a programme called “Unlocking Curious Minds” which was supported by the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment.  This project centered on an Inanga investigation.  The programme was developed in conjunction with Ngāi Tahu and involved six schools, nine classes of children and three preschools.

The Network also has a focus on Te Ara Ōtākaro Avon Trail. The trail is an 11 kilometre spine from the city to the sea, which is largely complete, with navigation and interpretation signage going in at points along the way over the next month.  If you haven’t taken the time to wander through the trail yet, I highly recommend getting into that winter gear one weekend and experiencing this pathway.

One of the more fascinating projects that the Network presented is their household stormwater exemplar.  The Zone Committee has a huge focus on encouraging residents to play their part in managing stormwater to ensure good water quality outcomes.

Arapata Reuben, Zone Committee Chair

Managing stormwater to protect urban rivers

The exemplar project is developing a rain garden that will divert rainwater that washes off roofs and driveways into an area of land that slows stormwater flows by ponding it, so it gradually seeps into the ground or a stormwater drain under the garden, filtering out contaminants in the process.  We look forward to seeing the outcomes of this project.

As Chair of the Zone Committee, I personally want to thank the Network members and volunteers for their huge commitment and for making our city a better place to be.  They demonstrate that successful projects can be achieved when we work together.