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Pokaiwhenua Catchment Group planting day

September 29 was the first public planting day since the Pokaiwhenua Catchment Group was established. This occurred on land owned by the crown (DOC administered), adjoining one of the Trinity Lands Ltd farms close to where the Wiltsdown Road crosses the Pokaiwhenua stream.

The group’s mission is to restore and enhance the wellbeing of the Pokaiwhenua stream and its catchment for the benefit of the community.

Matt Highway, a catchment adviser, the owner / director of Element Environmental.

Matt Highway, a catchment adviser, the owner / director of Element Environmental.

The attendees were the majority of the PCG trustee’s, Joseph Kaponga from Ruakawa, Trinity Lands representatives and farm staff, Thomas George from South Waikato District Council and teacher Mark Bannister and students from Forest View High School in Tokoroa.

Many of the plants for this site were funded by SWDC and more generously donated by Hodderville Plant Nursery.

With Council support and various avenues of funding, PCG aim to fence waterways, plant trees, improve water quality, enhance the biodiversity, improve food gathering, and reconnect the community to the catchment. Over time PCG would also like to establish walkways to showcase this beautiful area.

The Pokaiwhenua Steam at this first planting site has been fenced to exclude stock from the stream for many years, but Trinity Lands decided to clear the area of blackberry, re-fence well back from the stream edge, and plant the riparian areas with natives.

The Pokaiwhenua Stream has many photo opportunities.

The Pokaiwhenua Stream has many photo opportunities.

The Pokaiwhenua Stream and its catchments are one of the South Waikato region’s hidden natural gems. The stream starts in the hills near the Mamaku Plateau, ends at Lake Karapiro, and is roughly 56 kilometres in length. There are many hidden waterfalls, fishing spots and beautiful native bush. Sadly, over time the Pokaiwhenua Stream water quality has declined, and it has now become a high priority catchment for restoration with Environment Waikato. Much of the catchment is in pasture, and the stream is high in nitrogen, phosphorous, and E. coli Most of the stream is fenced and, some areas have had restoration efforts undertaken in the past. We are also keen to work with urban communities as well as they have a major impact on catchment health.

The PCG are actively applying for runding rom both the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the Waikato River Authority (WRA) to support future work to enhance the Pokaiwhenua Stream, and will be engaging with landowners withing the catchment in time.

This article was originally published in the October 2021 issue of The Prattler.