The story begins in 1998 with Jenny Christianson, the passion driving the project to ‘weed the bush’ on the banks of the Kaipātiki Stream on Auckland’s North Shore. She soon had a band of merry men and women who volunteered their time and energy (in fact by this time Kaipātiki had had 1,297 individual volunteers’ visits). During this time we had many homes - from Jenny’s house, to where we are now tucked in to the lower reaches of the Kāipatiki Stream in Birkdale, surrounded by the Eskdale Reserve Network and friendly neighbourhoods.
Kaipātiki Project Progress
When the new Kaipātiki Road and bridge were built, trees fell, weeds and animal pests were given a gateway into the riparian zone. Tradescantia and convolvulus, among many others, began to grow profusely, competing with a stressed native biota. Seedlings at the base of parent trees could no longer penetrate the dense weed mat and therefore died.
A daunting challenge for our band of volunteers, but with the support and assistance of the North Shore City Council, the road margin was cleared and planted, and a walkway, designed to link with the envisaged coastal walkway, was created. Litter, weeds and stormwater problems from upstream were also degrading the stream. To turn the tide, children and businesses joined residents in planting the hundreds of native plants propagated by Kaipātiki Project volunteers.
With more activities, the need for education programmes grew too - regenerating the bush, planting, and pest management. New programmes such as Kereru Awhina, Nature for Neighborhoods, Enviro-Schools, Create Your Own Eden, Nursery Bites and the Streamside Assistance Programme were being delivered, crossing the boundaries of the reserve and into people’s lives through learning and hands-on assistance for homes, gardens, schools and workplaces. During this period, we secured our first significant external funding and employed passionate, capable staff. Under their leadership, Kaipātiki Project continued to gain momentum in restoring the environment, attracting still more participation.
A total makeover of the Kaipātiki Project’s HQ was made possible in 2009/10, thanks to input from staff, volunteers, sponsors and friends. New carpet and curtains, a new paint job, a rainwater tank and a tidy up meant a more comfortable and productive working environment for staff, volunteers and visitors.
21 years and still going strong
A composting programme called Create Your Own Eden was created in partnership with North Shore City Council around 2001. Kaipātiki Project taught this programme since its inception until January 2015.
Just for the record during 2011/12 Create Your Own Eden diverted 48 tonnes of kitchen waste from landfill due to the changing behaviour of course participants, Our 2012/13 stats show we taught 81 courses to 1,607 people throughout Auckland.
Since then the programme has continued to be refined and improved, In April 2015 Compost Collective was launched – with bold aspirations to grow composting in our communities. Kaipātiki Project and EcoMatters Environment Trust from Auckland’s west partnered to deliver this programme, funded by Auckland Council. In 2018/19, we supported 417 workshops, with 6,231 participants, diverting 493 tonnes of kitchen waste. Other cities throughout Aotearoa are now interested in implementing the effective model of Compost Collective.
For the past eight years, Kaipātiki Project has continued to develop and grow our support. We have led new learning opportunities, co-hosted environmental events, and delivered a wide range of environmental projects.
Our vision of people and planet nurturing and regenerating each other, is an inspiring picture and a powerful motivator for changing the current ‘norm’. As part of a global movement for change, we are delighted to be part of empowering local community solutions every day.
The EcoFest North and Eco Fun Day 2019 offered 38 sustainable living events and experiences for everyone, followed by a successful Enviro Hui North. Zero Waste Kaipātiki is our emerging network of community organisations and locals with a passion for ‘getting to zilch’. Having started just a year ago, the network is already part of a Construction & Demolition project, we have piloted waste audits to food businesses, we have published a Zero Waste map, and are creating fun and funky Community Drop-off Bins.
Kaipātiki Stream Care has developed relationships between four schools and their local streams using citizen science, and we are preparing to publish our first two-year baseline report to support local communities to set their 10-year goals for their stream.
We ran our second one-month online sustainability programme Sustainable Whanau Challenge in 2018 with great success, was part of establishing Pest Free Kaipātiki as a local whole of the landscape approach, which is already exceeding targets.
Our nursery is growing 30,000+ eco-sourced plants each year for local restoration, private backyard programmes and a range of other inspiring destinations. Plans are afoot for establishing the Hobsonville Point Community Environment Centre to accommodate local network activities.
In 2019 we welcomed the new look, while retaining passion for nature! Inspired by Puawānanga New Zealand Clematis, the new logo represents a layered integration of place, experiences, diversity, continuous learning, and of course our passion for nature’s revival.
And our Birkdale site, on the edge of the 64ha Eskdale Reserve Network, continues to beat as the sustainable heart of Kaipātiki Project - Environment Centre of the North Shore, with our beautiful community garden and the buzz of our staff, members, volunteers and visitors, along with the singing and dancing of the birds. By the end of 2020, we look forward to welcoming you to our transformed location as we work with the Kaipātiki Local Board to develop a building and site that reflects our people and planet nurturing each other in all its wonderful ways.