Tauranga City Council has prepared a landscape plan for part of the 15km long Te Ara o Wairakei Stream reserve corridor.
The landscape plan will provide a template for enhancement of 10km of reserve over the next 10 years. It includes features such as planting, cultural recognition, signage and pathways.
The landscape plan covers stormwater reserve land extending from Pacific View Road to the Te Tumu boundary, including Taylor Reserve. The landscape plan recognises the heritage value and cultural significance that the area has for Tangata Whenua. The plan provides for structures, cultural art and traditional practices in the reserve.
The land on either side of the Wairakei Stream is primarily stormwater reserve land. Stormwater reserves are designed to flood as a way to manage excess stormwater after heavy rain events. Improving water quality is an important aspect of the landscape plan.
Over the last decade, Tauranga City Council’s investment in dual shared walking and cycling pathways has also helped the Wairakei Reserve grow into a valuable recreation and commuter route.
Planting in the reserves is currently on hold until 2021, and will not resume until after additional community engagement has taken place. The intention is to have both the wider community and councillors involved in further engagement, to ensure that all opinions are heard by your elected representatives who ultimately decide the next steps in this project.
Facts on planting objectives
We are aware of some misinformation about the objectives of this project published on signs in the reserve and a related website. The information provided on the website mixes opinion with fact which isn’t in everybody’s interest. To ensure the community receives facts, we list a few key ones about planting :
- Benefits of riparian planting are scientifically proven, they form part of the national drive to improve fresh water quality and address some of the very issues people in the area are concerned about, most importantly the quality of the water and stabilising banks.
- Short growing natives have been chosen to retain water views, we are NOT creating a wetland.
- Riparian planting will also improve biodiversity, by reducing water temperature and improving habitat for native resident species.
- Planting is a fundamental part of the resource consent for the stormwater reserve.
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. Residents from the wider community enjoy and use the reserve, which has enduring cultural value to the iwi and hapu who have been associated with the area for many centuries.
The reserve is council owned land that forms part of a stormwater network managed for the benefit of the wider community. It is available for public use and enjoyment under the specific requirements of a resource consent.
History of Te Ara O Wairākei
Long time Pāpāmoa residents might remember this waterway was once known as the Pāpāmoa Main Drain. In 2004 the original name of the stream, Wairākei, was reinstated and in recognition, more recently, the reserve was named Te Ara O Wairākei - the path of the Wairākei.
The stormwater function of the corridor has a history that pre-dates residential development by many decades and has been maintained by successive Boards and Council organisations.
Until 1910, the Wairākei Stream headwaters flowed down from Pāpāmoa Hills and Otawa. The headwaters merged with the dune wetlands of Omanu and Pāpāmoa, west of Domain Road. The Omanu and Pāpāmoa wetlands (low lying swamps between dune ridges, still visible today on undeveloped land) extended for kilometres between Omanu and the Kaituna River. The Wairākei Stream flowed east towards the Kaituna River, before turning west again and flowing out to sea at the Taylor Reserve estuary.
The Wairākei was a tidal river and navigable, with people travelling by waka to and from pā in the vast wetlands and dune plains. The Wairākei river was fringed with raupo and manuka and contained an abundance of fish, which could be seen from the banks in the clear water.
By the early 1800s flax became a commodity for trade. Land was drained and large-scale planting and harvesting supplied at least two flax mills near the Wairākei Stream and Kaituna River. Later that century swampland was converted to farmland.
From the late 1800s, the wetlands were managed by Land Drainage Boards. When the East Coast Main Trunk railway line was constructed in 1910, the Wairākei Stream’s headwaters were diverted and the stream mouth silted up causing flooding. To drain the wetlands and lower groundwater, Harrisons Cut artificial outlet was excavated in the early 1940s. By the 1960s, the Wairākei Stream estuary was filled in and a second artificial outlet installed (Grant Place weir) to continue to maintain lower groundwater levels and drain stormwater.
Below you will find a few questions and answers that will provide more insight into this project and what it’s aiming to achieve.
Tauranga City Council has started work to enhance sections of the Wairakei Stream reserve as part of the first phase of implementing the Te Ara o Wairakei Landscape Plan. We’ve consulted with the public and heard your aspirations for the Wairakei Stream corridor.
The purpose of the plan is to enhance the 10-kilometre-long stormwater reserve – between Pacific View Road in Papamoa and the Te Tumu boundary, including Taylor Reserve - encouraging people’s use and enjoyment of the area.
The intent is to protect and enhance ecological and cultural values, including the planting an estimated 500,000 native plants along the stream.
Besides managing stormwater, the reserve will include more walkways and cycling routes. It will also express the heritage and cultural significance that the area has for Tangata Whenua, through cultural art, signage and traditional practices in the reserve.
Public consultation happened at the start of the project, and your feedback was integrated into the design.
Work will be completed in two stages. Through to the end of 2025 work on stage one will be taking place through the Wairakei area, including the landward side of the Wairakei Stream from Pacific View Road through to Golden Sands Drive.
Work on stage two will be taking place through the Te Tumu area. This area encompasses the rural zoned land from the eastern end of Papamoa Beach Road, eastward to the Kaituna River. Plans for this area will be further developed following rezoning.
As part of the plan, 10 kilometres of the Wairakei stormwater reserve will be enhanced with new plants, landscaping, park furniture, signage and upgrades to the existing amenities.
- 11km of new cycleways and pathways - A series of bridges, cycleways, pathways, and boardwalks have been installed along the reserve and walkways widened to allow for shared use.
- 25 hectares of vegetation enhancement - This includes trimming, crown lifting and removal of vegetation in some areas to improve safety, creation of 51 sediment retention wetlands, wetland and shrub planting, and park benches to sit and relax.
- New signage - Signage identifying exits, roads, and wayfinding within the reserve will be installed, as well as special signs that recognise places of cultural and historical importance.
Throughout the year, certain phases of the work will require the use of machinery to undertake the landscape works. Disruption to residential areas is expected to be minimal, and each stage of work will progress quickly.
Wairakei Landscape plan flyer (2mb pdf)
Stage 1: Wairakei landscape plan
Te Ara O Wairakei & Taylor Reserve Landscape Design Report pages 1-41 (484kb pdf)
Appendix 1 pages 42-63 (360kb pdf)
Appendix 2 pages 64-194 (16mb pdf)
Appendix 3 pages 195-208 (28mb pdf)
Appendix 4 pages 209-251 (31mb pdf)
Last Reviewed: 09/07/2020