Our Groups at Opanuku Stream
Volunteers of all ages, from a variety of places and walks of life have been at the heart of the transformation taking place on the beautiful Opanuku Stream. In recognition of their hard work and dedication let us introduce you to them all.
Te Ata carried out an 8 month project with PTS Opanuku Stream, adopting an area on the Corban Estate that they visited weekly to weed, plant and care for. They also entered vigorously into an art programme with PTS Arts coordinator, Janet Holt, creating a beautiful sign for their area, al fresco art of their part of the stream, ceramic tiles, paper making and beautiful collages, all celebrating their restoration work.
This group adopted a large area of streamside directly behind their centre on the Corban Estate, rapidly clearing the area of copious amounts of junk and weeds. Plants are now lush and beautiful and stabilise the erosion prone stream banks. In the last few years, the Mother of Divine Mercy community group has come to assist the Mamas in their area with 20-40 people of all ages finishing up their hard work with a BBQ and singing. Both the Mamas and some members of the Mother of Divine Mercy group contributed to the development and decoration of Moana the Tuna, situated adjacent to their adopted area on the Corban Estate.
Mother of Divine Mercy group
The Mother of Divine Mercy group began work with PTS in 2008 assisting the Pacific Mamas (see above) to maintain their adopted area on the Corban Estate. In 2010 they adopted their own area below the Henderson Valley Pony Club. It was an exciting event when 2,500 plants were lifted by helicopter across the swollen stream onto their planting site.
Corban Estate Volunteers
The area adopted by this group, made up largely of CEAC staff, studio tenants and tutors, was chosen in an attempt to discourage the ongoing dumping that had been happening there for years (stolen goods, bottles etc). Situated on the Corban Estate, the area was also overgrown by Japanese honeysuckle, privet, tradescantia and other invasive weeds. The group visited the area every 6 weeks and with much hard work transformed the area to one of beauty, despite an ongoing battle with hungry rabbits in the area.
One of the first groups to adopt an area and begin restoration work, Corrections (Community work teams) has carried out major and essential work on the stream. With two adopted areas, one on the Corban Estate, and the other on Henderson Park, plus a variety of work to assist in areas too difficult for some younger volunteers (such as primary school students) their impact has been considerable. They have removed mountains of litter and weeds, with their earlier plantings now growing vigorously and tall. One of their earlier members says she ‘found her niche’ planting on the stream, and has gone on to becoming employed by one of our leading local restoration organisations as a team leader. Several other members found work as a result of learning gained.
Waipareira Alternative Unit
This unit of students worked hard to maintain and beautify their adopted areas on Henderson Park, and at the end of Keeling Road, near to their centre. Students made yearly visits to the Cascades Kauri Park where Riki Bennett of Ohomairangi taught them how to identify traditional Maori bush (plant) food and medicine as well as showing them how modern day Park Rangers stay safe and well fed in the bush. One teacher, along with the past Principal’s husband, both of whom were raised in close proximity to the Opanuku Stream, contributed their stories to the Tales of the Opanuku Stream book.
Henderson South Primary School
Students from this local school entered into the restoration of their adopted area not far from their school with great enthusiasm and energy. Many of the students lived close to the stream and took great delight in telling us of their (out of school hours) visits to their ‘place’ by the stream. Each year students participated in a range of stream-based workshops, learning about stream creatures, becoming familiar with wetas, eels and so on and hearing about how Maori lived, and live, in the natural world. Students worked with PTS artists in the creation of a beautiful school mural – when asked what they would like the theme to be, the resounding answer was “the stream all full of rubbish and weeds, and then us, in our red uniforms, planting and cleaning it up”.
In more recent times we have worked with the students to help establish a native plant ID garden within the school grounds. The students are working with PTS Arts Coordinator Mandy Patmore to design an entrance gateway for the garden.
Henderson Valley School
Henderson Valley School joined Project Twin Streams in 2009. They have a number of adopted sites which they are able to walk to from the school. Several classes attend working sessions a number of times during the year and these combine with stream side education programs. The students worked with PTS Arts Coordinator Kristin Kell on designs for a wall symbolizing the Opanuku Stream. The wall encloses a new Native Tree Identification Garden constructed at the school late in 2010.
Henderson High School
||Parekura Special Education Unit.
This unit has worked tirelessly since 2007 on their adopted areas on the stream not far from the school, to the point where they have become skilled planters and plant releasers! In celebration of their work the unit worked with the PTS arts team in the creation of beautiful mosaic tiles which are now installed in their adopted area. Students have also taken part in a range of workshops teaching them about the stream and the life that abounds in and around it.
||Outdoor Education Classes
Beginning in 2006, outdoor education students and their teachers have weeded, cleared rubbish, planted and maintained a range of areas within the large area adopted by Henderson High School, including a small wetland that had become badly degraded. Plantings are flourishing with the wetland well on its way to better health. The first class to begin work with us worked with the art team to create Totara posts, inlaid with ceramic tiles, to name and celebrate their stream work.
||Maori Language Class
From the beginning, various students and teachers cycling through this stream at the High School, have worked to create Te Maara Oranga, a garden containing plants used (and still used) by Maori in their traditional way of life with a special emphasis on medicinal plantings. Ohomairangi has worked with us, and with the students, in the creation and installation of interpretive signage, and with the delivery of Rongoa Maori workshops. With funding from the Council arts team, a carver worked with the students in the creation of a Totara Pou for the area, along with a carved stone.
Western Heights Primary School
Since 2007 students from the senior school have visited their area several times per year, on the northern side of the Opanuku Stream behind the school, en masse to plant and weed. Their energy and enthusiasm for their work there is evident in the healthy native plantings all along the stream.
All the students have enjoyed sessions with Ohomairangi and with Neil Henderson to grow their understanding of the important work they are doing around the Opanuku Stream. In 2009, along with art students from St Dominic’s school, students created a beautiful mural for the school celebrating the Opanuku Stream and all the life that it sustains. More recently we have been working with the students in a bush area in the school grounds which will act as an outdoor classroom. We are developing tracks and setting up weta houses etc. We are also setting up a nursery which will provide plants for the bush area.
Waitakere City Council volunteers
Two council groups adopted areas within easy walking distance from the civic centre. Council planners had a very active relationship with their area, preparing the land, weeding and planting throughout the year with some members already skilled in the restoration process. All actively participated in a presentation on biodiversity, and its relevance to their area. A second group, made up of 5th floor staff, visited their area when needed, maintaining, planting and clearing rubbish, gradually transforming a weed and rubbish filled area, adjacent to a small park, to one of natural health and beauty.
Church of the Latter Day Saints – Henderson Valley Ward
This very active group continue to visit their adopted area of streamside throughout the year, bringing people of all ages. They have transformed what was once a very degraded area. The plants are now flourishing and so the group has taken on an adjacent park area to look after. In the warm summer months, volunteers get right into the stream, pulling out dumped car tyres and other rubbish, and just having fun.
Corban Estate Weaving Circle/Te Pa Harakeke o Te Iwi (village of flax for the people)
Te Pa Harakeke o Te Iwi stands on parkland owned by Waitakere City Council and has been developed and managed by the Corban Estate Weaving Circle with assistance from Project Twin Streams Opanuku Stream and the Green Network Community Assistance Programme of Waitakere City Council. Containing special heritage flax weaving cultivars, along with a range of rare and endangered ground cover plants, the site is a place of cultural harvest and public education. See Feature Box on main Opanuku page.
The Walsh Trust joined PTS in 2010. Between twenty and thirty volunteers come to sessions each week. They have worked on a number of sites along the Opanuku Stream planting and then maintaining them. After finishing each work session the group enjoys socialising over lunch. We have worked with them to develop a nursery which has provided native plants for sites on the stream as well as schools etc. Along the cycleway below Misty Valley Road there is a large seating area enjoyed by cyclists and pedestrians. Walsh Trust volunteers helped to construct this seat and designed and made the pavers and ceramic mosaics which decorate it.
GE Money were involved with PTS beginning in 2006. They adopted a number of sites along the Opanuku Stream. They came once a month with an average of 10 volunteers attending each time. As part of their program they hosted two schools, St Joseph’s School and Glen Innes Primary. On these occasions GE Money provided the students with BBQ food, covering the cost of tutors for stream side education. In 2007 the company donated a macrocarpa park bench which is a feature of Henderson Park. In 2009 they made a generous cash gift which enabled us to purchase tools and to develop educational resources.
National Bahai Centre
The Opanuku Stream flows through this beautiful property which has some great bush areas. Members planted the stream margins and now are involved with weed control.
Freyberg Community School
Freyberg Community School adopted several areas on the Upper and Lower Opanuku Stream which they planted and cared for over several years.
Bella’s artists are a group led and inspired by Lynette McKinstrie who meet each week in the Waitakere Central Community Arts Council rooms. In 2012 they came and drew inspiration from the Opanuku Stream for a collaborative painting and drawing project which combined views of various aspects of the stream environment. The finished piece was presented to the Walsh Trust who were very pleased to receive it for the decoration of their premises.