Mahurangi East Land Restoration Project
The Mahurangi River and surrounding waterways have been a symbolic feature in the lives of Warkworth locals and surrounding areas for generations.
It's no secret that the life of this river has degraded over time and many have worked, and continue to work, hard to help restore the mauri of this precious resource to its former health.
Mahurangi East Land Restoration (MELR) project is a $5 million, a 5-year long sediment reduction programme to restore the health of the Mahurangi Harbour. Auckland Council and Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust have partnered to design and deliver the programme, which is funded by the 'Jobs for Nature’ Ministry for the Environment's (MfE) fund.
The programme supports the vision, values and mahi from previous foundational projects, notably the community-led Mahurangi Action Plan; and strives to work in with ongoing community initiatives with the hope that locals will tell stories of life in the river for generations to come.
Auckland Council and Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust are designing and delivering the project in partnership. Our goal is to reduce the amount of sediment reaching waterways in the catchment.
Nau Mai, Haere Mai ki te Rohe ō Ngāti Manuhiri
What's the problem with sediment?
Sediment is ranked the third-highest threat to marine habitats in New Zealand and it is estimated that 21,000 tonnes is lost every year from the Mahurangi catchment.
Eroded soil ends up in our estuaries and harbours where it can accumulate and cause a decline in water quality, aquatic life and biodiversity of the entire area.
Human activities such as urban development, roading and agriculture can speed up the process of erosion, causing more sediment loss into our rivers and streams.
Meet the team
Te Ao Rosieur,
Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust
Te Ao facilitates cultural engagement for the project and advocates for cultural enhancement and matauranga māori.
Te Ao is passionate about connecting with the community to ensure the mana and mauri of the whenua is restored.
Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust
Courtney is the Technical Advisor who will be producing a Cultural Value’s Assessment on behalf of the Manuhiri Kaitiaki Charitable Trust.
Courtney is passionate about marine protection and upholding kaitiakitanga on behalf of the Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust.
Merrin Whatley (PhD),
Freshwater Science Advisor
Merrin has a background in Freshwater Ecology - specialising in rural catchment management with over 15 years of experience working in both New Zealand and the Netherlands. She feels a strong connection to Mahurangi from childhood holidays spent there and has been professionally involved in the catchment both before and after her time overseas.
Merrin has a passion for helping local communities develop innovative solutions to achieve meaningful environmental outcomes.
Colleen is an Environmental Scientist and has worked across the Auckland region in environmental and stream issues for 15 years. Her specialty is freshwater management, in particular stream restoration, improving fish passage, and assessing and remediating of stream bank erosion.
Adray Minh Nguyen,
Adray ensures everything in the project is going smoothly. He’s also responsible for mapping Public Land and identifying areas where we can support community groups and undertake activities to
reduce sediment loss.
Holly’s background is in water quality and marine ecology. She is passionate about working across different sectors to achieve environmental goals.
Leanna has a background in environmental restoration, farm environment planning and farming. She is passionate about helping landowners achieve their fencing and planting projects.
Shelly has a background in environmental restoration and community engagement through citizen science programmes.
Shelly is passionate about achieving environmental outcomes through supportive partnerships with Rural landowners.
Sophie's background is in freshwater ecology and riparian restoration. She is local to Warkworth and has spent the last five years working in the Mahurangi River catchment. She loves planting trees and is passionate about supporting others to restore the natural environment.
MELR focuses on four areas of human activity causing sediment loss: small construction sites, forestry areas, rural land use and unsealed roads.
Small construction sites
We'll expand Auckland Council's existing programme, Closing the Gap, to reduce pollution from construction activities. The more that these construction sites are compliant with existing regulations, the better we can safeguard our waterways from the pressures of developments.
We'll do this by increasing the number of monitoring specialists in the area to evaluate small construction sites and provide technical assistance to builders.
Rural land use
We'll provide funding and support to help local landowners protect areas of sediment loss on their properties. We'll also support community restoration projects on public land.
To ensure we are targeting the right areas, we're carrying out ongoing studies to monitor sediment lost from rural areas.
We'll work alongside landowners of forestry areas, enabling them to play a more significant role in preventing erosion events before they happen.
We'll do this by building a network of landowners interested in harvesting timber and providing them with critical materials on low impact harvesting techniques and regulatory requirements.
Support will also be provided to address post-harvest opportunities, whether it’s replanting for future harvests or restoring the landscape with native vegetation.
We'll pilot 'Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance' techniques designed to reduce sediment loss from dirt and gravel roads. These techniques will also extend the lifetime of these roads.
This approach has environmental, economic, and connectivity-related benefits.