Wellington stream’s future secured with a click

1 July 2015

A crowdfunding website is giving nature lovers in Wellington the chance to support restoration projects, even if they don’t have time to do the planting themselves.

Peter Gilberd from Woodridge Planters and Laurie Foon from the Sustainable Business Network by Belmont Stream.

Peter Gilberd from Woodridge Planters and Laurie Foon from the Sustainable Business Network by Belmont Stream.

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Through the Million Metres Streams Project, people can fund a metre or more of stream restoration at a site of their choice. Belmont Stream, a tributary of the Porirua Stream and one of Wellington’s few remaining natural lowland streams, is the first site in the capital to be included.

“As well as encouraging native bird life, riparian restoration at the stream will help protect the remnant riparian forest,” says Council Environment Partnership Leader Tim Park. “Planting will provide shade and habitat for native species like kōura, longfin eel and banded kōkopu, and stabilise the stream banks. Over time, this will improve water quality by reducing the amount of sediment entering Porirua Harbour.”

Our Parks, Sport and Recreation team connected Woodridge Planters with the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) to get the project going.

SBN created the crowdfunding website – the first in New Zealand to focus on ecological projects – in collaboration with Enspiral.

“We wanted to make it easy and exciting for all New Zealanders to get involved in improving the health of our waterways,” says SBN Central Regional Coordinator Laurie Foon. “The Million Metres Streams Project lets them make a difference – right now – by funding the plants for effective restoration projects, metre by metre.”

 Belmont Stream is well-loved and supported by the local community, with church groups, community service workers, Scouts, the local marae and rest-home residents connecting through the Seton Nossiter Park Working Group and Woodridge Planters.

“We’re looking forward to it,” says Woodridge Planters Volunteer Coordinator Peter Gilberd. “We’ll be planting more than 400 metres of stream bank, which will have a big impact on local wildlife, including stream life, and also park users. And we haven’t forgotten that a good portion of the park users are dogs, so we won’t be planting around their favourite swimming spots.”

The group has worked in a number of areas in the northern suburbs, including Grenada, Newlands and Paparangi. They work with a local community garden to grow native plants – including rongoā plants for the local urban marae – but need further resources to make the Belmont Stream project happen.

With planting scheduled for next winter, the challenge now is to secure funding before the end of December.