Te Ara Awataha regeneration

Imagine a place where you can walk or cycle, kids can play and learn about nature, you can meet people, or simply sit quietly on a park bench enjoying the sounds of the birds in the trees.

Te Ara Awataha is a 1.5km greenway corridor in the heart of Northcote. The purpose of daylighting the Awataha Stream is to bring back its mauri, which includes regenerating its source, the Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve, also known as Kākā Reserve.

Since March 2019, Kaipātiki Project has been delivering the community-led regeneration of this reserve on behalf of Eke Panuku in partnership with mana whenua, Auckland Council's Healthy Waters and the Kaipātiki Local Board. 

Working to deliver on the aspirations of the Take Mauri Take Hono mauri indicator framework developed by mana whenua, Kaipātiki Project has been piloting the whole-systems approach for community restoration. This framework guides efforts to boost the mauri of the stream, improve water quality and allow it to become a habitat for birds, insects, and tuna (eels) once more. It also reconnects the community to this lost environmental taonga that is now available for everyone to explore.


Credit: Eke Panuku Development Auckland

The key principles and purpose underpinning the framework

Key Principles Purpose

Aho Taiao: Living with nature

Nature is visible, green, resilient, and ecologically healthy

Aho Tangata: sharing communal space and feeling safe

The work supports a connected, healthy, and inclusive community

Aho Toi: working collaboratively

The community is empowered through the work

Following the mauri indicators framework, Kaipātiki Project co-created a regeneration plan for the Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve, where the spring or ‘puna’ of the stream begins. Central to community engagement, there are monthly working bees at the site, with an initial focus on the removal of a large stand of running bamboo. In addition to these events aimed at encouraging engagement with immediate neighbours and locals, we have also been supported by corporate groups, local schools and community groups. One of the highlights has been working regularly with volunteer Street Guardians working in conjunction with the City Mission and the Tomorrow Inc charity. Another significant highlight was recently finding our first tuna (eel) after a year of monitoring. Seeing this confirms there are tuna returning to the stream, and continuing a 30 to 80-year reproduction life-cycle. 

Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve is getting a makeover!

The upgrade is taking place between June 2023 - June 2024. What’s included?

  • Stream restoration - repairs to slips, waterflow enhancements and safer access to the stream.
  • An improved open space area - landscaping, new seats, educational signage, exploration trails, recreation spaces and artwork.

What will happen to access during construction?

  • The reserve will be closed. 
  • The Kākā Street and Martin Crescent paths will remain open, so pedestrians can continue to access the Aikido club.
  • Community restoration days in the reserve are temporarily suspended but regeneration activities continue in the neighbourhood. Check out volunteer events here.

Our amazing community stewards

We have been really fortunate to have had so many community members and groups contribute to this work. Some of our younger volunteers have come from the local school, Northcote Intermediate, as part of the William Pike Challenge. Others have come from Carmel College and beyond. 
Credit: Nick Monk from Auckland Libraries (Kaipātiki Local Board)

A growing number of neighbours have spent considerable time with us since 2019. We have had some neighbours participate in almost every single community restoration day. Some neighbours have been our eyes and ears, taking photos and recordings of all the interesting "going-ons" when we aren't able to be there. We've had reports of kōtare, tuī and kererū in the reserve to sightings of the banded-kokopu in the stream. We have even had a sighting and photograph of kākā - a first in 30 years by neighbours. Another one of our amazing neighbours has generously watered the garden when we have not been able to be there.

We thank our funders and partners!

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