New wetland restores natural environment to central Porirua
Te Kukuwai o Toa is the name gifted by Ngāti Toa Rangatira to the new wetland at Elsdon Park.
The name was formally unveiled at a dawn ceremony today.
The wetland has been developed in partnership between Wellington Water, Porirua City Council and Ngāti Toa with funding from the Ministry for the Environment Freshwater Improvement Fund. It will help reduce flooding and naturally filter stormwater before it runs into Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour.
It is the final stage of a major, $14.5 million project started in May 2020 to upgrade the stormwater network in Porirua City to alleviate flooding at Porirua school and in Takapūwāhia and improve the health of the harbour.
Wellington Water Group Manager Network Development and Delivery Tonia Haskell says this project has been a great collaboration between Wellington Water and its consultants and contractors, Porirua City Council, and Ngāti Toa.
“This is an exciting project where we are using nature-based solutions and we hope to see more of this type of solution in the future.”
Ngāti Toa Pou Toa Matarau Naomi Solomon says the opening of the Wetland is an important part of the journey to improving the health of Te Awarua o Porirua.
“The whenua in which the Wetland now sits was a significant site for Ngāti Toa in the past where we gathered kai moana and essential resources for our iwi. Te Kukuwai o Toa when translated means The Wetlands of Toa in reference to its presence in the heart of Takapuwahia. We thank all those who have worked tirelessly to bring this project to fruition.”
Porirua Mayor Anita Baker says this project is a win for the city.
“It’s fantastic to be at the point where we can open the wetland – not only is it about water quality into the harbour and protecting this area from flooding, but it’s a destination for people to visit and for school groups to learn from. I’m optimistic it will make a difference to this part of Porirua and want to congratulate everyone involved – it’s been a large-scale piece of work.”
Wetlands are often described as the kidneys of the planet, because of the way they regulate water flow and filter waste.
This wetland is part of a $14.5m programme of work to address flooding and is designed to reduce contaminants and sediment entering the Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour, with $2 million in co-funding from the Ministry for the Environment.
The wetland covers one hectare and will support resilient treatment of stormwater runoff from the 40 hectares of commercial and residential areas upstream.
There are over 20,000 carefully selected native aquatic plants, covering at least 80% of the wetland surface, to support a vibrant and biodiverse community, and another 15,000 plants around the edge.
Water from the Urukahika Stream (currently in pipe below Awarua Street) will flow into the wetland and spread across the full area, before gradually flowing out to the harbour. The design avoids areas of stagnant water and will support diverse communities of aquatic insects, birds and fish which feed on biting insects such as mosquitoes. Most of the wetland area will be covered with dense plant cover rather than open ponds.
For more information on the project visit https://www.wellingtonwater.co.nz/work-in-your-area/porirua-central-stormwater-upgrades
For a video overview of the Wetland visit https://youtu.be/Ye2UzDZAk2c