Bringing waterways into daylight


Daylighting our streams – A key part of the EcoMatters environment agenda has been supporting community involvement in the Council funded La Rosa Stream Daylighting project and worth a story to appreciate the importance and the value of their efforts.

I grew up living in a suburb just a section away from a creek in natural bush, and with the neighbourhood kids we spent hours in the weekends enjoying a natural playground. I look back now and see the magic we had with a bit of native bush we could walk to and have our own explorer kids world in, whenever we wanted.

Have you heard of daylighting? It’s the process of retrieving streams that are piped underground and restoring them to ground-level attractions that are a healthier environment plus create a natural habitat for fish and wildlife.

You may know of the work being done by several groups, with the support and assistance of Auckland Council, on restoring the streams and waterways around Auckland. Something else I learned, over 750,000 trees and bushes have been planted as part of Auckland Council’s environment restoration, since 2003. EcoMatters has three streams projects in the West Auckland area.

For what benefits? Mainly for biodiversity – more plant, marine and bird life – also for recreation, stabilizing stream banks, better flood management and landscape development. Simply, it looks nicer and becomes a natural habitat for a whole lot of wildlife, a good thing to put back into our urban landscapes.

If you have property nearby it will improve your value, and helps to restore more of a community spirit – These are our streams, our habitats to share in that communal way that being in nature brings out.

La Rosa gardens in Green Bay is host to two streams – Parahiku and Waitahurangi which are part of the general Whau river catchment. The streams were piped in the 1970s when concrete was going everywhere, however the pipes can’t handle the volume of water when it rains. And who wants to keep waterways buried when they can be landscaped attractions for the community to enjoy?

La Rosa’s official daylighting opened to the public, a project that is restoring 180 metres of the Waitahurangi and Parahiku streams to a more natural state. Where once was stormwater concrete pipes hidden under a grass field is now wetlands and a sanctuary for native birds and plants.

Planting trees and bushes. As we all know, trees and shrubs stabilize soil and provide a healthy natural habitat for all kinds of life. There has been a big replanting effort, mostly by volunteers. That’s a key role for environmental groups like EcoMatters.

Most of the stream catchment is on or borders with private property – a lot of work is needed to assist property owners in restoring the banks, getting rid of weeds and other obstructions, and the essential re-planting needed for healthy, natural waterways. I for one am delighted that someone is coordinating these eco-projects and organizing the volunteers needed to get the work done.

Thanks EcoMatters!