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"As good as it gets"

"As good as it gets"

An article by ZEALANDIA Storyteller, Libby Clark

My blinkers have been removed.  

Until recently, my love for and commitment to Zealandia has largely been focused inside the fence. Sure, I knew about the halo effect: how kākā are now all over Wellington, how tīeke are nesting in Polhill Gully, how kererū and kākāriki frequent Karori, how tūī are a common sight and sound in our gardens. 

And I had heard of Sanctuary to Sea, with a vague understanding that it was about the Kaiwharawhara Stream. 

Now that my blinkers are off, a whole new perspective has opened up for me. With the Sanctuary to Sea project, Zealandia’s ‘Living with Nature’ kaupapa has embraced an aspirational and transformative focus beyond the fence. 

So what’s the big deal? Many of you will know what I'm about to share, but many won’t, and I'm taking this opportunity to celebrate Zealandia’s role in initiating a project that aims to restore the health of the largest stream system in the region – Kia Mouriora Te Kaiwharawhara. Zealandia’s Te Māhanga Stream is one of the tributaries of the Kaiwharawhara, in the only catchment with an open estuary on the Wellington harbour. Seven strategic partners, including Taranaki Whānui, are implementing a comprehensive 10 year plan, with the broader aim of being an “exemplary” model for other national and international environmental restoration projects.  

We are all aware of the problems and challenges with our waterways, and we know only too well that our lower lake is in trouble. Imagine what all this will be like in 100 years, when the vision of the Sanctuary to Sea project is fulfilled. The entire catchment will be “a healthy and forested ecosystem …. which sustains an abundant native biodiversity and enhances the opportunities for Wellingtonians to have a nature-rich future”. To put it plainly, ika and tuna will once again be able to access the stream from the estuary, move freely in unpolluted waters and healthy connected habitats from sea to sanctuary. Forest remnants, riparian zones and urban gardens will connect and support native wildlife. 

I urge you to follow the link here to the Sanctuary to Sea Strategy. See how the plans are founded on three overlapping themes: Te Awa (the stream), Te Ngāhere (the forest), and Ngā Tāngata (the people), each with its own challenges, objectives and commitments. See too how community groups and schools are engaging with the kaupapa. 

Are you hooked? I am. 

Libby Clark 

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