Volunteers from the Henderson Valley Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Supervised Group Home Henderson; Child, Youth and Family; and The Department of Corrections gathered together on Saturday 23rd February at the Opanuku stream to commemorate the years they spent restoring the streamside.
The Opanuku stream has been degraded by pollution from storm-water run-off, deforestation and urban development, but this hard-working group of community volunteers have been restoring it back to health. They have transformed their chosen area of the stream into a flourishing, welcoming place to visit by planting native trees and keeping invasive weeds away.
As many as up to 70 people at any one time aged from 2 to 82 years old regularly gathered together to clear invasive weeds, plant natives, mulch and clear away broken glass and rubbish such as tyres, shopping trolleys and household waste.
For the church it began as part of its International Mormon Helping Hands program which brings together members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and their neighbours to provide a community service. Staff members and young people from the Henderson Supervised Group Home of Child, Youth and Family later supported and contributed to the weeding, planting and mulching of trees.
The Department of Corrections also contributed with maintaining the area and working hard to keep it weed free.
This group is an incredible example of very different members of one community working together to enhance the environment at their own back door. They will celebrate by weeding, clearing rubbish from the Opanuku stream and unveiling an art post they have made themselves.
Over the last 5 years over 300 people between the three organisations have contributed to the success of this area, including MPHS Community Trust (MPHS) who have managed the Opanuku Stream community engagement contract since 2009.