Kindred organisations 1:Tāmaki Estuary Protection Society

Maintaining links with kindred groups

Eastern Bays Songbird Project (Manu Tī Oriori) was one of a dozen local environmental groups represented at the Enviro-Forum on Water held under the auspices of Orākei Local Board and organised by OLB representative Margaret Voyce at Orākei Bay events centre on May 29.

Each group had a table displaying information about what it does, but not everyone there managed to visit all of them. To help remedy that, we will feature each of them at intervals on our website.

1. Tamaki Estuary Protection Society (TEPS)  


Phone (Julie Chambers): 021 204 4118 

TEPS’ purpose is to safeguard the life-supporting capacity of the Tāmaki Estuary. Members work towards the goal of seeing the Tāmaki Estuary and its tributaries maintained, enhanced and restored.

At the annual meeting of TEPS on Sunday, July 24, Dr Julie Chambers was elected as the new Chair, succeeding Beth Evans, who stepped back after five years in the position. Bruce Kendall, a Howick Local Board member, was elected to fill the one vacancy on the TEPS committee. 

Julie Chambers paid tribute to Beth Evans for her tireless work for TEPS, playing a major role in TEPS resolving governance challenges and being pivotal in re-establishing TEPS 2020 committee and meeting all statutory obligations. Beth, who continues to maintain the TEPS Facebook page, was awarded Life Membership.

In her summary of the year’s activities, Julie said TEPS committee members had continued working as a team to protect and restore the Tāmaki Estuary, despite the difficulties and restrictions of Covid. Their many activities included an Ōmaru Creek clean-up event, with stream clean-up guidelines written by a sub-committee, and the creation of an excellent brochure on the Estuary. 

Julie said the committee recognised the need for a TEPS annual subscription charge in order to better cover administration and related costs. She also noted the requirement of the Charities Commission that all charities rewrite their constitutions by 2026. This seemed a long way ahead, but when the new mandatory sections were added,  the TEPS constitution would change from its current nine pages to twenty-nine. The TEPS committee would consult with members on the changes.

Julie concluded: “Administration is important, but our focus is on the Estuary and its waterways. Estuary shorebirds continue to decline in numbers. Urban intensification around the coastline is happening at pace, and sediment and sewage continue to overflow into the Estuary. Local streams and rivers require greater focus so water quality can improve. Climate change is posing further challenges.”

Committee member David Doleman gave a slideshow presentation on Wai-o-Taiki Bay. He said most people did not realise that 56 bird species are represented on the wetlands and adjacent coastal land at Wai-o-Taiki Bay. He showed a photo of a macrocarpa on the edge of the estuary festooned with roosting spoonbills. The tree was already threatened by rising sea levels, David said. He wondered whether the birds would be able to continue roosting in the tree.

David criticised Auckland Council for its lack of vision for a secure, erosion-free coastline and pollution-free waterways. There was an historic failure to complete projects and a lack of ongoing maintenance. He said local commitment and investment were vital, as was local consultation.

Caption: Spoonbills in a macrocarpa at Tāmaki Estuary. Photo: David Doleman