Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour and Catchment News

Image showing Porirua Harbour and Pauatanaui Inlet.

This section has news and interesting items about the Porirua Harbour and Catchment Community Trust, with a video showing a Day in the Life of Porirua Harbour which includes Pauatahanui Inlet and Onepoto Arm. It also has a link to our Publications page where you can download and print any of our reports and research documents.

For earlier 2015-16 News articles, see our News Archive (pdf format)

1 May 2017 - New Wetland and Dune area for Porirua Harbour

A major project to protect and enhance the southern end of Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour starts today and will include the creation of a new wetland and sand dune area.

Porirua Harbour aerial.
Aerial photo showing area where work will be done to stabilise erosion.

Expect to see diggers around the Porirua Stream Mouth as they stabilise the erosion-prone harbour edge by recontouring and laying rock rip rap, plus create the dune to protect a new wetland area that will be planted behind.

“Our community tell us how much they value the harbour and this work is about improving its health, particularly the area around the stream mouth. It’s taken a number of years of planning and approvals to reach this point – so it’s really exciting to see work about to begin,” says Councillor Anita Baker, Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour and Catchment Joint Committee Chairperson.

“The potential for restoration of this area has been recognised in a number of studies and is a key project in our Porirua Harbour and Catchment Strategy and Action Plan,” says Cr Baker.

The project is a partnership with Greater Wellington Regional Council and will create a self-sustaining ecosystem to attract and support more native wildlife and plant life, while improving the way it looks for residents and visitors. “It will really benefit everyone who uses and enjoys the harbour,” says Greater Wellington Councillor Barbara Donaldson.

The work will take around 10 weeks. It will see improvements to the area from the Porirua Stream Mouth, behind Pak n Save, to the Semple St entrance, off Wineera Drive behind Big Save Furniture. Rock rip rap will be placed on the foreshore around the stream mouth and at the Semple St end to stop erosion that has eaten away many metres of shoreline. In between, a dune will be built up to about one metre using locally sourced coarse sand material, and the wetland will be planted behind. A stream that runs into this area will be diverted through the wetland.

“The work will return this part of the harbour to a more natural salt marsh area, which have been heavily modified over the years,” Cr Donaldson says.The harbour walkway will remain open, with one small diversion in place, while the work is underway.

Queries can be referred to the Porirua Harbour Strategy Coordinator, Keith Calder at 237 3598 or kcalder@pcc.govt.nz.

22 December 2016 - Taniwha at the CBD Skate Park

The Skate Park at Te Rauparaha Arena Reserve is back open for business - complete with it's new spectacular paint job!

Porirua Skatepark - Taniwha.
The 3D taniwha - Te Awarua-o-Porirua - dominates the 'skatescape'.

Featuring the Harbour Taniwha - Te Awarua-o-Porirua - this art work is the largest 3D image of it's kind in the southern hemisphere. The overall work is best viewed from the northern end of the skate park, while the fiery skate bowl is sure to be an additional hit.

Porirua Skatepark
The fiery skate bowl.

If you are interested in brushing up on your knowledge of the mythology around Te Awarua-o-Porirua, and the 'cause' of the Harbour and Mana Island, you can check it out at this link.

Porirua Skatepark - entrance.
The newly-painted Porirua Skate Park is now re-opened for business, and enjoyment!

This artwork is a great example of 'bringing the harbour to the CBD' and celebrating the reality that Porirua is a coastal city.

14 December 2016 - Pukerua Bay School Kicks-Off Too!

EnviroSchools Educator, Amanda Dobson, HAS been busy. Students at a second school she supports with environmental education started labeling street drains in their neighbourhood - this time it is Pukerua Bay School and streets on the western side of SH1 in Pukerua Bay. Eventually, the whole of the village will be done.

Pukerua Bay children receive instructions.

Children from Pukerua Bay attentive to instructions on how to prepare and stick 'Drains to Harbour' plates to neighbourhood street drains.

Though not strictly part of the Porirua Harbour catchment (all Pukerua Bay stormwater drains to the Bay), it is an opportunity to educate the community about broader issues, while helping to improve the health of our popular coastal waters.

So, two groups of seven junior school children learnt how to clean and then glue 'Drains To Harbour' (sic) plates on the concrete kerb beside street stormwater drains. This afternoon's effort labeled over 40 drains.

12 December 2016 - Spotless Crake all but Spotted

The reasonably distinctive call of the spotless crake has been heard by reliable observers from the Pauatahanui Wildlife Reserve. While visual confirmation has yet to be made, it seems almost certain that the endemic and endangered species is now present in the Reserve for the first time. A remarkable addition to the birdlife for this nationally significant wetland. More information about the spotless crake can be found here.

Spotless Crake on nest. Spotless Crake on nest.

Spotless Crake / Pūweto for the first time in Pāuatahanui Wildlife Reserve.

Adding to this, Forest and Bird are working with DOC on the possible re-introduction of another rare New Zealand species, fernbird, to the Reserve in the near future.

11 December 2016 - Cockle Count 2016

The 24th year of the triennial Pauatahanui Inlet cockle count was done on the 11th December. After two weeks delay due to weather, the Guardians of Pauatahanui Inlet (GOPI) supported by the Porirua and wider community finally completed this mammoth and monumental task.

Cockle Count counters at work in the Inlet.
Shallow quadrants are dug and cockle numbers and sizes counted.

It will be some time before the numbers are 'crunched' and the survey report released, but there is strong interest in what impact a significant increase in rainfall and also several major flood events have had since the last Count in 2013.

Cockle size measurement.
All cockle in a quadrant sample are measured.

The Count is still the longest running survey of it's kind in New Zealand, thanks in large part to the organisation and coordination of Prof John Wells, local resident and immediate past Chair of GOPI. However, this will be Prof Well's last year at the Cockle Count helm, and a new leader will be required long before the next, 2019, Cockle Count happens. But a remarkable effort on John Well's and GOPI's part.

Long-time Cockle Count leader, Prof. John Wells, briefs the team leaders before heading to all corners of the Inlet.
Long-time Cockle Count leader, Prof. John Wells, briefs the team leaders before heading to all corners of the Inlet.

9 December 2016 - Firsts for Porirua School and Harbour Catchment

Porirua School is the first school in the Porirua to undertake 'Drains to Harbour' labeling of neighbourhood street drains. The School is also the first in the Porirua Harbour catchment to complete a 'Drain Art' project highlighting the need to avoid tipping, pouring or washing anything into our street drains.

Rain to Drain Project.

Both projects are part of the larger community education programme for the Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour and Catchment Strategy.

Lead by EnviroSchools Educator, Amanda Dobson, students from Porirua School will label all drains in Elsdon with the blue, metal 'Drains to Harbour' plates and put an information postcard into each letterbox explaining the appearance of the labels and how people can help clean up the Harbour. The design and painting of 'Drain Art', the brain-child of Pataka Education Officer, Margaret Tolland, is another education opportunity for students to learn about stormwater impacts in the Harbour. Porirua School designed a stormwater-eating harbour taniwha surrounded by examples of pollutants that should not be tipped down street drains.

Rain to Drain project.

Other schools are involved in piloting the Drain Art programme, and it is hoped to eventually see such challenging artwork appearing in more public places around Porirua.

The street drain labelling is sponsored by Porirua City Council and Wellington Water Ltd. There is opportunity for other schools, community groups and businesses to undertake labeling of other Porirua locations. Ngati Toa Rangatira has already labeled the 104 drains in Takapuwahia village. Pukerua Bay School will start labeling drains throughout Pukerua Bay from 14 December.

Rain to Drain project - labelling.

If you are interested in learning more about these programmes, contact PCC Porirua Harbour Strategy Coordinator, Keith Calder, on (04) 237 3598 or email kcalder@pcc.govt.nz.
(photos by Amanda Dobson. Principal/Teacher - Maz Holman. Students : Mary Jane Tiulama Whaanga, Ana Bulicakau, Lexus Risati, Myah Vaega,Thi Pong Vang (Maria) and Krusae Heemi.)


1 December 2016 - New Membership of Joint Harbour Committee 'Confirmed'.

Following the October 2016 local body elections, the new membership of the Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour and Catchment Joint Committee (Joint Harbour Committee) has been appointed. The Chair is Cr Anita Baker (PCC), Cr Kylie Wihapi (PCC), Taku Parai (Chair of Te Runanga-o-Toa Rangatira), Cr [to be confirmed] (WCC), and Cr Barbara Donaldson (GWRC).

The original Joint Harbour Committee had its inaugural meeting on 26 August 2014, and was established as the governance group for overseeing the implementation of the Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour and Catchment Strategy and Action Plan (Harbour Strategy), developed by the Councils, Runanga, agencies, organisations and the community and formally adopted in March 2012. The Harbour Strategy is now in its 5th year, and continues to provide the vital framework for a prioritised and coordinated focus on improving the health of Porirua Harbour.

The 5-person Joint Committee monitors and reviews Harbour Strategy implementation activities and has the authority to ask for reports on particular aspects of harbour and catchment issues, Strategy implementation or Council activities.

18 November 2016 - Tamariki Art Exhibition Opens

An exhibition of art by seven schools from the Porirua Harbour catchment opened today as the culmination of a terms environmental education work focusing on Porirua Harbour.

The Tiakina Nga Taonga exhibition was blessed by Te Runanga o Toa Rangatira chairman, Taku Parai, and officially opened by Cllr Kylie Wihapi on behalf of the Mayor. Children, teachers, parents and supporters enjoyed waiata from Porirua Central School, food followed by the opportunity to view a breadth of different art forms depicting elements of the harbour and its health. While much of the art reflected a pessimistic outlook on harbour health, Porirua Harbour Trust Education Coordinator, Rebecca Logan, and Enviroschools Coordinator, Amanda Dobson, believed this was an important reality within which children in the catchment and their schools realised they had an important part to play to help clean up the harbour.

The PHT, Enviroschools and the Island Bay Marine Education Centre environmental education programme already involves 38 of the 50 schools in the catchment, stretching from Johnsonville to Pukerua Bay. It is hoped that the programme will soon cover all 50 schools.

For more details and the full programme go to www.facebook.com/ThisIsPorirua. The Exhibition is open on weekends and Thursday nights until Sunday 4 December.

Taku Parai besses the art exhibition.
Taku Parai besses the art exhibition.

Art - typical messaging.
Art - typical messaging.

Art exhibition - plenty of public interest.
Art exhibition - plenty of public interest.

16 November 2016 - Quakes & Floods!

As if an earthquake and tsunami's of early Monday morning 14 November weren't enough, both arms of Porirua Harbour turned brown in the deluge and flooding that followed the next day! Some might say that you could not have scripted such an unusual and challenging series of events.

Much has been reported about the earthquake aftermath and the scale and impact of the flooding. But little about the obvious visual impact on the harbour, and the lesser known invisible but suspected impacts. Some PCC images will be added here over the next two days.

However, it was observed that sediment-laden run-off was coming from every part of the catchment - building platforms, forest, pasture, streambanks, slips, roadworks etc. A King High Tide and a northerly wind coinciding with the flooding made matters worse around parts of the harbour such as Greys Road and Plimmerton roundabout, but fortunately no flooding of the Porirua CBD like occurred in the May 2015 and 2016 events.

Greater Wellington Regional Council offices at Centreport have been affected by the earthquake, meaning that staff are unlikely to be able to return there for an as yet undetermined time, and instead working from home or other offices such as Masterton. This will mean there may be a delay in officers analysing and reporting on the significance of the rainfall, stream flows and sediment loadings. Those will be posted when available.

Flooding - Porirua Stream at the rail station.
Flooding - Porirua Stream at the Railway Station.

Flooding - Pauatahanui Stream.
Flooding - Pauatahanui Stream.

Flooding - Takapu Stream.
Flooding - Takapu Stream.

Spoonbills at Paremata Station sheltering from the storm.
Spoonbills at Paremata Station sheltering from the storm.

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The Porirua Harbour and Catchment Management Programme has a wide range of reports, a literature review, and research documents available for review and printing. Go to our Publications - Porirua Harbour and Catchment Management Programme to view and download these documents.

Annual Report and Work Plan

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Contact Details

For enquiries or more information about the Harbour programme, please contact:
Porirua Harbour Strategy Coordinator
Porirua City Council
PO Box 50218
Porirua City 5240
Phone: (04) 237 5089
Email: kcalder@pcc.govt.nz