Tauranga City Council has prepared a landscape plan for part of the 15km long Te Ara o Wairākei Stream reserve corridor.
The landscape plan will provide a template for enhancement of 15km of stormwater reserve, stretching from Pacific View Road to the Te Tumu boundary, over the next ten years. It includes features such as planting, cultural recognition, signage and pathways and recognises the recreational value of the reserve for users and people who live nearby, and the cultural significance the area to the iwi and hapu who have been associated with the area for many centuries.
The plan provides for structures, cultural recognition and traditional practices in the reserve. Over the last decade, Tauranga City Council’s investment in dual shared walking and cycling pathways has also helped the Wairākei Reserve grow into a valuable recreation and commuter route.
However, the land on either side of the Wairākei Stream is primarily a stormwater reserve, which is designed to manage excess stormwater after heavy rain events and protect houses from flooding. Improving water quality is also an important aspect of the landscape plan.
May 2022 - Media release - Te Ara o Wairākei Planting to Go Ahead
Upgrade and planting benefits:
Structure and amenity
- Some plants have berries and flowers attractive to native birdlife and bees, encouraging pollination beneficial to local residential gardens
- Water’s edge planting reduces grass clippings to fall into the water after mowing, which is detrimental to water quality
- Seating and shade trees added where suitable next to paths to enhance the recreational value and wildlife habitat.
The revised planting approach has been developed to reflect feedback from tangata whenua as well as local residents. We acknowledge the passion residents of Royal Palm Beach have for this area and their contribution to the early development and maintenance of the stormwater reserve. The new plan allows for regular access to the water, while trying to achieve the objective of improving the ecological and cultural values of the waterway as required by the agreed landscape plan.
New plan for Area 2 – 2022
The revised plan, developed after considering all feedback, includes larger areas that will be free from planting, enabling water views and access to the water edge.
Due to a reduction in planting, the ecological/stormwater treatment that would usually occur will reduce as this approach does not fully align with the original plans.
The 2022 Area 2 plan has spaced low riparian planting in sections on the water edge. Below is an indication of the planting you can expect to see in Area 2.
For more details on the planting, please view the report to the commissioners here.
The new Planting Plan is a compromise
- It has been our intention to listen to concerns and find a middle ground.
- Not planting is not an option.
- Representatives of both PRRA and iwi have agreed.
The Commissioners have identified three key points that drive the Te Ara o Wairākei landscape project:
- To ensure the reserve reflects and incorporates cultural heritage and significance of the area to tangata whenua. The improvement to Te Ara Ō Wairākei is of high importance to the iwi, as demonstrated in this opinion piece on their website.
- The need to take on board the opinion of with the adjacent landowners, wider community as well as tangata whenua
- The benefits of planting, including habitat creating for a diverse range of wildlife (as below).
The intention of the Te Ara o Wairākei landscape plan is to:
- Improve the recreational and ecological values of the reserve
- Protect its function as stormwater corridor
- Recognise the cultural values of this important community asset
Riparian planting of this stormwater corridor is happening in context of a national policy driving improved quality of fresh water for New Zealand.
The predominantly Council owned Wairākei Stream Corridor is located within Papamoa and extends for approximately 14km before reversing via a 4km long blind ‘back arm’ in Te Tumu. The stream relies on in-stream storage and soakage for the management of stormwater and mitigation of flooding within the existing Papamoa area, the urban growth area in Wairākei (under development) and also the future development area of Te Tumu.
Council holds a Comprehensive Stormwater Discharge Consent to address stormwater management and the discharge of treated stormwater runoff in Papamoa. This stipulated a 100% stormwater storage mitigation requirement as a means to mitigate stormwater discharges and associated flood risk.
The Comprehensive Stormwater Discharge Consent was varied in 2015, after appeal proceedings and mediation, to improve the economic viability of land development in the area. New conditions were added at this time requiring the preparation and implementation of both Landscape and Cultural Plans for the Wairākei Stream corridor by 2025 (one Cultural Plan for each of the 3 Iwi groups who were a party to the appeal).
Timeframe for planting
The project team is talking to local plant suppliers about stock availability for this planting season (winter 2022). Depending on plant availability, we plan to start putting some plants in this season and plant the remainder of the area next season (winter 2023).