However, urbanisation and industrial development have taken a massive toll on the river's health. And according to RiverCare Group’s Coordinator Alan Clist, Henderson Creek faces an even bigger problem.
‘The river receives frequent sewerage inflows and pollution from the stormwater system,’ Alan explains. ‘Auckland Council and Watercare are struggling with a legacy of decades of infrastructure under-investment and a rapidly growing population,’ he advises.
RiverCare Group is doing crucial work to restore the wellbeing of Te Wai o Pareira. The group oversees a programme of independent water quality testing and reports any pollution events to the authorities.
RiverCare also advocates for improved water quality to Watercare, Auckland Council and public health authorities. The group has regular meetings with Watercare to monitor activities related to sewage overflows.
And working closely with local schools and community groups, RiverCare undertakes various conservation projects on Tawa Esplanade. Cleaning up rubbish, removing weeds, and replanting has been a big focus. Matipo School, the local primary school, is busy cultivating native plants ready to replant along Tawa Esplanade.
RiverCare has also teamed up with Te Atatu Endeavour Sea Scouts in a pest control project. It's early days, but the Sea Scouts have had great success in getting rid of rats and mice that threaten our native flora and bird life.
The committed team of volunteers at RiverCare has achieved much in a short time. However, resources are always in short supply. And an application to the Your West Support Fund has provided much-needed funding of $20,000 to help the group keep up the excellent work.
‘The help of the Your West Support Fund has been invaluable,’ says Alan. ‘It’s given our work a real boost and has raised our profile,’ he adds.
RiverCare is always on the lookout for new volunteers. From community planting days to regular water testing, there are many opportunities to get involved and make a real difference.
Check out RiverCare’s on Facebook for all you need to know about this great project.