Weir have all the whitebait gone?

Sophie Tweedle at the inanga spawning site on the Mahurangi River.

The pros and cons of removing a weir on the Mahurangi River to allow whitebait free passage up the river will be debated at the Warkworth Town Hall on Wednesday, February 13.

The evening is the first Warkworth Town Hall Talk of the year.

It will start with a presentation by Whitebait Connection coordinator Sophie Tweddle, who will talk about the Auckland Inanga Spawning Project, which is being delivered in partnership with Auckland Council.

“The project aims to locate potential inanga (whitebait) spawning habitat on eight river systems within the Auckland region, identify if these sites are currently being used for spawning by inanga, and recommend and implement actions to protect, restore and enhance these sites,” she says.

“The Mahurangi River is one of the eight sites we are working on through the project.”

A panel discussion will follow Sophie’s talk, moderated by One Warkworth manager Murray Chapman.

Panelists will include Mahurangi Action chair and Rodney Local Board member Tessa Berger, planner Shane Hartley and New Zealand Premium Whitebait manager Paul Decker.

Council announced plans to remove the 100-year-old weir late last year. It believes the height and speed of water crossing the weir is making it near impossible for native fish – particularly whitebait – to move upstream to spawn.

The weir was built to supply water to the former Wilson cement works and a number of residents believe it is an historic structure that should be left on the river as a reminder of Warkworth’s industrial heritage.

Doors open at 5pm for a 5.30pm start.


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