Wirihana and Kowhai Reserve Wetland
Tucked away amongst houses, where Glen Eden meets Titirangi, lies one of Auckland’s hidden treasures – the Wirihana and Kowhai Reserve Wetland. Wetlands are among the most threatened ecosystems in New Zealand and are rarely found in an urban environment, so it is only right this ecological gem is being given the treatment it deserves.
It is estimated that less than 10 per cent of New Zealand’s original wetlands remain and in Auckland the statistics are even grimmer. Much of the isthmus once boasted wetlands brimming with cabbage trees, flax, weka and bittern, but today this important habitat makes up less than 0.5 per cent of the region’s land cover. Most have been drained to make way for urban development. Wetlands are described as kidneys, or giant sponges, slowing the flow of water off the land and filtering out pollutants. They’re also an important habitat for native plants such as kahikatea, swamp maire, cabbage trees and sedges as well as native freshwater fish, invertebrates, frogs and birds.
Project Twin Streams Glen Eden restoration efforts, which include the management of environmental weeds and restoring stream banks with native plantings, are being led by Stream Ranger Alanah Mullin who has spent many hours door-knocking, alerting residents to the fact they have something exceptionally special over their back fence.
The project is gaining momentum with each planting season with neighbourhood weed workshops and planting bees educating locals on the importance of managing the environmental weeds on their properties as well as providing opportunities for the local community to get their hands dirty.
For example in 2011 over 2,000 natives were planted by pupils from Glen Eden Intermediate, local residents and Vision West horticultural students’.
The aim is to connect residents to this special space to ensure the long term sustainability of the ecosystem. Enabling local people to become the long-term kaitaiki (guardians) of the wetland through education, engagement and practical experience reflects the wider philosophy and aims of Project Twin Streams Glen Eden.
The Wirihana and Kowhai Reserve Wetland can be viewed from the Onedin Place footbridge which crosses the wetland and goes up a path to Withers Rd beside the Badminton Club. At present there is limited public access to the wetlands so the best way to experience this distinctive area is to contact the Project Twin Streams Glen Eden team. There are regular planting and working bee sessions as well as education sessions exploring the unique ecology of the site.
09 813 2285
021 308 268