Once we have a picture of how healthy our stream is and what factors we want to improve and why, we can make plans to take action.
The interactive Inquiry and action learning process provides step-by-step guidance for planning and investigating a water quality issue with the intent to take action.
Examples of actions that can improve stream health include:
- riparian planting
- maintenance of riparian planting
- fencing the stream from stock
- pest control
- raising awareness of water quality within the community
- exploring what has been done before and visioning for the future
The Fairfield Project is a community venture that started a few years ago to look after a piece of land that was otherwise going to likely be sold and developed. We have a long-term lease and a long-term dream to restore the gully environment. There are 8 hectares of gully. It’s very overgrown and neglected because, over time, they weren’t really looked after or seen as a valuable resource. That’s changed over many years, and there’s quite a bit of gully restoration work going on in Hamilton.
Most of the work that has been done has been done by a handy team of volunteers and by groups associated with the two schools that border the gully – Waikato Diocesan School for Girls and Fairfield College. So those two schools have had groups of students doing most of the planting, and the preparation work that led up to the planting was done by our volunteers and contractors.
Quite a lot of preparation that goes in before you can restore anything because otherwise the trees won’t survive. In these gully systems, it’s largely removal of rubbish, clearance of weeds and getting the area to a suitable standard so the trees have a better chance of survival.
We’re supported in our work by Ngāti Wairere. They are part of our Trust, and they are the mana whenua of this rohe here. They have a strong history and narrative connected to the space. There were marae close by, there have been ancient taonga found in the gully – it’s a very special place.
NIWA have been studying the giant kōkopu in the stream for the last 15 years and monitoring their spawning, which these fish are doing in the middle of an urban stream, which is highly unusual. So that’s a real taonga species that we have here. There are tuna in the stream as well, so this stream’s quite an important ecosystem in its own right.
Having the local people able to access and learn some of that unique and special nature of it drives a lot of us in the project.
The Fairfield Project
Jordan, Lucy, Hannah, Jess and Sam, Waikato Diocesan School for Girls
Jake and Sarah, Bankwood Primary School
Drone footage of Kukutāruhe Gully, footage of gully weeding, rubbish removal and planting out and footage of teacher workshop, The Fairfield Project
Footage of Dr Cindy Baker electronically monitoring fish, the Kudos Science Trust
Footage of giant kōkopu, David Tate, Mahurangi Technical Institute
This video has been developed in partnership with the Waikato Regional Council as part of the Rivers and Us resource.