Coxhead Creek restoration project starts

Sisters Ellen and Jo McArthur, with their niece Olivia Afeaki.

Armed with spades and gardening gloves, and wearing gumboots and raincoats, about 25 eager tree planters attended the inaugural planting day on Coxhead Creek, between Leigh and Whangateau, earlier this month.

The planting marked the first stage in a project to restore the upper Coxhead Creek stream and, ultimately, improve water quality in the Whangateau Harbour. It is being driven by Whangateau HarbourCare and the Coxhead Creek Trust, with funding from the Rodney Local Board Healthy Harbours Waterways programme.

The planting day was held on the property owned by the McArthur family, who have farmed in the area for 50 years.

They say they have witnessed the impacts of erosion over that period and are excited to be involved in a project to restore the land, and water quality. Part of the project has included fencing off five hectares destined for replanting.

“We think it’s a fantastic project, which just would not have been possible without the funding from the Local Board,” Ellen McArthur says.

Whitebait Connection Auckland coordinator Kate McKessar also took water samples during the morning.

“The results will set a baseline so we can see what changes as a result of the restoration project,” McKessar said.

Over the course of several planting days, the project aims to get around 3000 plants and trees into the ground.