Te Ara Awataha, Northcote’s new greenway, is a 1.5km network of existing and new reserves that will run through the Northcote neighbourhood, connecting the town centre, schools and homes.
What’s special about this greenway is that it once had a stream, The Awataha running through it, although you wouldn’t know it to look at it; the stream has been confined to an underground pipe since the 1950s.
The spring or ‘puna’ of the stream starts at one end of Northcote in Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve, however, over time the waterway had been built over by roads, homes, a sports field and the Northcote town centre. In times of heavy rain, the residents in some of the streets beyond the town centre could kayak down the road as the flooding was so severe, and flooding in homes was a persistent problem.
Now, thanks to input from mana whenua and members of the community, as part of Te Ara Awataha greenway project the Awataha Stream will be brought to light for long distances of the greenway. This regenerative process, known as ‘daylighting’, will boost the mauri (life essence) of the stream, improving water quality and allowing it to become a habitat for birds, insects and tuna (eels) once more. It will also reconnect the community to this lost environmental taonga (treasure).
RESTORING JESSIE TONAR SCOUT RESERVE
The community has been getting behind the project through the restoration of the Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve at the end of Kākā Street and the source of the Awataha Stream. Kaipātiki Project is delivering the restoration of the reserve on behalf of Panuku and the community has been volunteering their time and labour to remove weeds, plant natives, and monitor water quality.
Since the restoration commenced, an increasing variety of birds have been observed at the reserve including tuī, kererū, kōtare and tauhou as well as familiar introduced species. Recently a neighbour captured video of a kākā – marking the first local sighting of the native in over 30 years.