Who we are:
The Upper Waitematā, and by extension our Network is connected by our waterways. This is both a privilege and responsibility for us to ensure the ‘mauri’ – life giving water continues and thrives for future generations – both for people and the biodiversity around us. The Upper Waitematā Ecology Network (UWEN) Waterways Collective is made up of a group of caring people who wish to ensure that the waterways of our area are regenerated. We welcome new people into our collective – please get in touch if you are interested.
Why we exist:
Intensification is happening all around us and is causing ongoing issues. To help with this we are working towards a collective, united strategy to be agreed among key stakeholders. We wish to work with iwi, Council and other key concerned community groups, schools and individuals to provide an exemplary model that works towards restoration and potential – one that sees people as the solution rather than the problem. This is a complex issue and it is vital that we don’t simplify it or isolate problems and try and solve them piecemeal. It is a beautiful living system that needs to be understood and respected.
Time is not on our side. Climate emergency, ongoing flooding and growing intensification is happening now. Whilst we understand the need for intensification, it is paramount that we take this as an opportunity to regenerate and improve the situation so as to not defer the problems for future generations to resolve.
Whilst this unified strategy is realised we continue to work with local schools to help measure our waterways, help bring back the birds, team up with the Million metres project to plant our local streams and build relationships with local iwi and Council to identify and protect key streams/springs that are vital for regeneration.
Why it this important:
The Upper Waitematā Harbour and surrounding catchment area are considered of regional, national and international ecological significance. In 2001, the URS (now AECOM) stated that the Upper Waitematā Harbour is ranked highest of the seven receiving environments applicable to the city, in terms of ecological value and vulnerability to degradation and sensitivity ranking. Yet the Auckland Unitary Plan has identified the Waiarohia Inlet, Brigham Creek and the wider Upper Waitematā Harbour as Marine Degraded 1 – the worst level possible. This mismatch needs to be addressed.
We need more than values to feel safe that this is being addressed – we need real measures and strategies in place, with short and long term goals in realising them. All new development needs to adopt best practice and beyond current approaches to contribute towards the regeneration of our waterways.
We would like to work with Council to get accurate measures of the quality of the Upper Waitematā Water – now and in 1,2,5 years and compare. A collective decision on what needs to be measured needs to be collectively agreed to. As a starting point the state of the eels in our rivers could be measured, the number of streams that need to stay open for healthy waters, the location of springs and how to revive them, the level of contaminants from horticulture/farming entering our waterways, and the level of sedimentation, the level of wastewater leaks, the level of roading contaminants and the amount of litter and illegal drainage/dumping.
We are the voice for those that cannot speak – the fish, sea life and local birds and for future generations. What we do in the Upper Harbour affects the Hauraki Gulf. The 2020 State of our Gulf report shows degradation and suffering in all areas of the Gulf. We can be part of the solution towards change.
We would love for you to join us.