Launch of Waiapu River project after long-time calls for action

The Waiapu River catchment. Picture supplied

A project to protect eroding banks of the Waiapu River at Ruatoria and Tikitiki will be launched tomorrow after years of lobbying by riverbank residents and others concerned about the problem.

Minister of Regional Development Shane Jones will launch the Whakaoratia te mana o te Waiapu project tomorrow at 10.45am at Waiomatatini Marae.

Launch spokesman Hilton Collier, from Pakihiroa Farms Limited, says the project involves the construction of a series of debris dams and riparian plantings along the Waiapu.

“It involves work along the river from the Waiapu Bridge to the rivermouth, and along the tributaries,” Mr Collier says.

“The plantings will be in native species, along with using willow and poplar poles.

“It is planned to have as much of the work done as possible using local East Coast businesses and labour.”

Mr Collier says the project will be based around the 12 marae in the Waiapu Valley.

“The marae will deliver the project on both sides of the river.”

There have been calls for years by riverbank landowners along the Waiapu to get something done about riverbank erosion, with the river taking away more and more riverbank farmland.

Landowner Warwick Olsen has campaigned vigorously on the issue.

Earlier this year he said the landowners had waited long enough for action on the issue.

“In the past two years I have lost a football-sized field of my land to the river and others have been hit the same way.”

He has plans for a “natural way to heal the banks of the river”using manuka bushes and willow poles bound together.

Mr Olsen said “the wairua (spirit) of the people who are really connected to the river, those who are alongside it, has been largely ignored”.

“The Waiapu can be a devastating river. You have to really respect it.”

There have also been consistent calls for work to provide greater flood protection for Ruatoria.

A project to protect eroding banks of the Waiapu River at Ruatoria and Tikitiki will be launched tomorrow after years of lobbying by riverbank residents and others concerned about the problem.

Minister of Regional Development Shane Jones will launch the Whakaoratia te mana o te Waiapu project tomorrow at 10.45am at Waiomatatini Marae.

Launch spokesman Hilton Collier, from Pakihiroa Farms Limited, says the project involves the construction of a series of debris dams and riparian plantings along the Waiapu.

“It involves work along the river from the Waiapu Bridge to the rivermouth, and along the tributaries,” Mr Collier says.

“The plantings will be in native species, along with using willow and poplar poles.

“It is planned to have as much of the work done as possible using local East Coast businesses and labour.”

Mr Collier says the project will be based around the 12 marae in the Waiapu Valley.

“The marae will deliver the project on both sides of the river.”

There have been calls for years by riverbank landowners along the Waiapu to get something done about riverbank erosion, with the river taking away more and more riverbank farmland.

Landowner Warwick Olsen has campaigned vigorously on the issue.

Earlier this year he said the landowners had waited long enough for action on the issue.

“In the past two years I have lost a football-sized field of my land to the river and others have been hit the same way.”

He has plans for a “natural way to heal the banks of the river”using manuka bushes and willow poles bound together.

Mr Olsen said “the wairua (spirit) of the people who are really connected to the river, those who are alongside it, has been largely ignored”.

“The Waiapu can be a devastating river. You have to really respect it.”

There have also been consistent calls for work to provide greater flood protection for Ruatoria.

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