Hamilton’s Mangaiti Gully was blessed on Tuesday (2 August) by Te Haa o te Whenua o Kirikiriroa (THaWK) to celebrate the hard work by multiple community groups and organisations to restore the area’s native flora.
Council’s Infrastructure Operations Committee Chair, Councillor Angela O’Leary, spoke after the blessing, outlining how she was pleased to see the restoration and constructions works now complete.
“This has been a hugely successful effort between central government and community groups, which Council has been extremely proud to support,” said Councillor O’Leary.
“All these groups have come together with a unified vision for the gully – and what an outcome. It truly speaks to what we can collectively achieve when we come together, not only for the benefit of our community, but also for our natural areas and native wildlife.”
The vision for the 10-hectare gully area was to restore the native vegetation back to pre-European status.
“A total of over 70,000 individual plants have been planted. This work was also essential to preserve Hamilton’s biodiversity – including iconic native species such as bats, tuuii, bellbirds, kereruu – as well as our aquatic life such as fish and frogs,” said Councillor O’Leary.
Part of the Kirikiriroa gully system in the city’s north-east, the Mangaiti project goal was to remove invasive weeds and replant native species.
Not just a habitat for a wide range of wildlife, the gully is now also part of the area’s walkway and cycleway systems. Through accessways, raised platforms and boardwalk tracks, the project helps link suburbs and provide the area with beautiful green spaces the community can now enjoy.
The restoration and construction efforts were a collaborative effort from the Department of Conservation’s Jobs for Nature Programme, Mangaiti Gully Restoration Trust, Go Eco Charitable Trust, Ngaati Wairere, Ngaati Haua Mahi Trust, HEB Construction, and Hamilton City Council. The project, which began in 2020, was made possible by $2.375 million in central government water stimulus funding.
Council has several projects aiming to restore the city’s green areas. Under its Nature in the City programme, Council’s goal is to increase Hamilton’s native vegetation cover from 2% to 10% by 2050. The latest Long-term Plan (2021-31) provides for funding for the next ten years of the programme.
The Mangaiti Gully tracks and boardwalks opened to the public at the end of June.