Almost 300 youngsters have planted 4000 plants in the Manga-o-tama catchment.
The Manga-o-tama stream flows from Ōhaupō to the Waipā River near Ngāhinapōuri in the west and the planting project brought together students from Paterangi, Puahue, Ōhaupō and Ngāhinapōuri.
Children from four schools braved tricky conditions while contributing to wetland conservation during a mass planting exercise.
Work to improve freshwater quality and biodiversity in the 7700-hectare Manga-o-tama catchment is part of the Department of Conservation-Fonterra Living Water partnership. It draws on contributions from Manga-o-tama Stream and Wetland Restoration Trust, Ngāti Apakura, Waipā District Council, NZ Landcare Trust and Waikato Regional Council.
DOC Senior Ranger Dion Patterson says environmental and cultural education is at the forefront of Living Water, and the schools involved in this month’s planting approached DOC about participating. This year’s planting exercise built on previous work involving schools last year.
This year’s planting was on land farm owners had retired. Riparian planting on those parts of the properties reduces the risk of nutrient and sediment run-off into nearby streams which subsequently flow into the Waipā River.
For the past nine years, Living Water has worked with farmers, iwi and other stakeholders at five catchments across the country to develop and trial tools and approaches to aid the improvement of improve water quality.
The wider Ōhaupō peat lakes and Manga-o-tama catchment – including the farms where the planting took place – are among the Living Water sites where wetland conservation is a focus.