Kapiti Conservation Alive And Well

You are doing your bit for the community and for the country. Cr Diane Ammundsen

A fantastic effort across the district

By Roger Childs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn Saturday 5 April, representatives from conservation groups from Otaki to Pukerua Bay met at the Council Chambers. It was on the initiative of Biodiversity Officer Rob Cross, Kaitawa conservationist John McLaughlan and Cr Ammundsen. It was an excellent opportunity for people from the range of groups to meet like-minded folk and get to know one another.

While people chatted and consumed the delicious morning tea, a power-point played in the background showing visuals and information about the incredible amount of conservation work that is going on across the Kapiti District. There are over 20 different groups in the area working at improving the environment. These efforts are actively encouraged by the council and this support was acknowledged by a number of speakers during the formal part of the meeting.

Case studies in making a difference to the environment

!cid_A01C3206CC684DEB98225CBD158D91ED@HayesHPEveryone in the gathering of 25 people who attended was able to speak about what they were doing in the area. Common themes were the

~ great support received from KCDC
~ need for more funding
~ desirability of getting more members
~ tremendous satisfaction from the work put in

The success of three groups epitomises the spirit and effort in improving the Kapiti environment.

Kaitawa

  • 18 years of involvement improving this Paraparaumu area based around the environs of the upper Wharemauku Stream
  • over 50,000 plantings
  • increased bird life in the area
  • more fish in the stream.

Otaki River

  • over 50,000 trees and shrubs planted
  • sponsorship from Rotary, Westpac and Fonterra
  • involvement of schools on Arbor Day
  • recent work on signage and seats.

otaihanga-domainWaikanae River

~ positive transformation  over the last 20 years
~excellent work done by KCDC in developing the tracks on both banks

~more than 50,000 plantings of 47 endemic species over the years
~ a nursery off Nimmo Ave East which produces 5000 seedlings a year

(Editor’s note: And the Whareroa Guardians have told KIN they have planted approximately 38,000 shrubs and trees in the Whareroa Farm park over the past few years)

It all started in Queen Elizabeth Park

The Park group was the pioneer for community planting in the Kapiti area. Conservation legends, Daphne Steel and June Rowland, were amongst the early pioneers. Both were also involved in the development of the Mataihuka Track along the escarpment above the railway line. The lookout at the southern end is named after June.

The Kaitawa group was the second, and things have mushroomed since then.

Active and enthusiastic support from council

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Council staff present at the meeting commended the efforts of all the groups. Deputy Chief Executive, Tamsin Evans, spoke of the mammoth effort put in by volunteers and said thank you for what you do.

Leisure and Open Space Asset Manager, Lex Bartlett, also acknowledged the work of the groups and mentioned that KCDC itself is responsible for over 20,000 plantings a year. The newest conservation area, the Te Roto Wetland Walkway, was a council initiative. (See http://kapitiindependentnews.net.nz/wasteland-to-wetland-walkway/)

The role of Cr Ammundsen, herself an active member of two groups, in encouraging conservation and environmental sustainability, was warmly acknowledged. Diane and Rob Cross are keen to build on the links between conservation groups established at the meeting.

Diane and Rob have devised a strategy to promote further cooperation and action.

We plan to call a further meeting of the combined groups in October with the aim of getting a representative from each group to form a committee.  From this it is hoped we can form sub committees to gain funding for all the groups, to make submissions on Council’s Long Term Plan, to organise activities between the groups if wanted and whatever else they may wish to promote. 

Establishing a registry on KIN

 The Kapiti Independent News has decided to set up a special section for conservation groups. The idea is to include:

  • a registry of all the groups
  • a what’s on column where groups can advertise up-coming events etc..
  • a news flash section on latest developments.

This will happen over the next few weeks. The information wanted for the website is

  • the name of the group and where it operates
  • contact name, phone number, email
  • the regular meeting time
  • particular activities of the group
  • any special events coming up.

Feel free to send this detail to Roger Childs at pamandroger.childs@paradise.net.nz

Hi Lynne. Thanks for this. Three groups so far have sent in details and no doubt more will be coming. We’ll have this Conservation section set up by the end of April.