'Beautiful day' at community planting event

More than 80 people took part in a ‘beautiful day’ planting native species at Te Punatarakao wetland on Saturday 19 May. Te Rūnanga o Waihao hosted the community planting day to get into the ground more than 800 locally sourced flaxes, sedges and other wetland plants. 

The event was as part of the Te Mana o Te Wai Wainono Lagoon restoration project to protect mahinga kai (traditional food and resource gathering) values and contribute towards improving water quality in Wainono Lagoon.

Sara Eddington, member of the Environment Committee at Te Rūnanga o Waihao said it was a ‘beautiful day with amazing community support’.

“It was a wonderful opportunity for us to share the significance of this catchment from our perspective.  With a wide and varying array of ages offering the children the chance to learn in a informal natural environment with laughter, waiata, mud and smiles. We planted the seeds for the next generation to come through.” 

As well as many community volunteers, representatives from the Department of Conservation, Environment Canterbury Oceania, Fonterra, Meridian, Waimate District Council,  the Wainono Community Catchment Group and the Lower Waitaki South Coastal Canterbury Water Zone Committee attended.  The Department of Corrections also supported the event by propagating the seedlings planted. 

“Te Runanga o Waihao would like to thank everybody for their contribution and were overwhelmed with the support and commitment from everybody involved,” added Ms Eddington.  

“We look forward to many more events such as this with the hope we can build on something bigger and better each year. Ma te huruhura ke te rere te mana (translation: it is the feathers that enable the bird to fly).”

The Te Punatarakao wetland adjoins the area that was the original Waihao Pa site.

Environment Canterbury biodiversity officer Kennedy Lange said the planting would make a big difference to the wetland.

“Te Punatarakao is important as a mahinga kai site with habitat for eels and īnanga. The planting will help protect the site from run off and weed invasion and will improve habitat through stream shading. Having the right type of plants on the edge of the stream will also provide better habitat for īnanga (white bait) spawning.”