• Hazel Meadows from Auckland Council Sustainable Schools and Wai Care demonstrated how easy it is to be citizen scientists and test stream health using the 5 c’s: Clarity, Cool, Current, Critters and Clean. Wai Care kits are available from the Sustainable Schools Team. A stream site can be registered and water quality data uploaded over time to measure ongoing stream health.
• Three members of Pourewa Restoration Group, Peter McLaughlan, Pat Northey and Sel Ar-buckle, explained how, over years of hard mahi on Wednesday and Sunday mornings, they and their supporters have made significant progress on transforming the Selwyn Bush area of the larger Pourewa Valley site from a rubbish dump choked with privet, gorse and pampas grass in-to a healthy bush area with a developing native canopy. Peter said that as a result of largely eliminating weeds as well as rats, mice and possums in Selwyn Bush, there are now fish in the stream, ornate skinks and lizards in the wood piles, and tūī, kererū and pīwakawaka are at home in more than 25 varieties of native trees that provide fruit and nectar. They hope that what has been achieved in this relatively small area will — with a lot more hard work — eventually be extended to form a greenbelt stretching from Ōrākei to Glen Innes adjacent to the Eastern Shared Path.
• Wyatt Dooley invited schools to take part in an Õrākei Local Board funded competition to collect seed pods of the Moth Plant — a notorious rampant vine whose pods, once they ripen and open, spread literally thousands of seeds on the wind. Students can cut off and bag the uno-pened pods, then count and photograph their collection to submit for the competition. There are $500 prizes to be won in four categories: pre-school, primary, intermediate and secondary.
• Etienne Neho and Rob Small from Pourewa guided participants to give back by helping with weeding in the māra kai.
Our EBSP group came away totally impressed and inspired by Ngāti Whātua’s bold vision, already well under way in practice, which will transform the Ōrākei Board area of Tāmaki Makaurau.