UPDATE: October 2022 - A second print of this popular book is now available!
Rod Brown has published an illustrated 'coffee table' book about the restoration of the Wairoa Stream. The book costs $30 (plus postage if required) and can be purchased directly from Rod by emailing him.
Rod comments in the book: This is my story about a community-led restoration not far from the centre of Kerikeri and the volunteers that made it happen.
It begins with the rather shameful degradation over many years of the Wairoa Stream by sediment and nutrient runoff from nearby horticulture and agriculture, industrial waste, stormwater contaminants and all manner of weeds along its banks that choked the life out of our wonderful flora and fauna. After a few of us had bush-bashed our way to a beautiful waterfall and remnants of native forest and bird life, we realised that we had rediscovered a local treasure! I believed that if the stream were accessible it could be brought back to life and its mauri restored.
Over the years, we developed plans for the community to also enjoy our treasure. The public planted thousands of native plants along the banks of Wairoa Stream that were produced by another community group. We negotiated with private landowners where necessary to have continuity in the tracks. We obtained grants and donations from institutions, volunteer groups, businesses and individuals. Local school students joined in, some even gaining a prize in an international competition. We gained confidence and skills over the years – it was hugely challenging, rewarding and fun.
Together we have built a very valuable asset at a fraction of the commercial cost to rate payers had the Council undertaken the work itself and also enhanced the natural environment. We learned very early that community work can be very fulfilling.
I hope my story relays our enthusiasm and pride in our achievements. I feel privileged to have had a role in our success. We hope that our volunteer efforts in Kerikeri will inspire similar groups elsewhere to rediscover their local environmental treasures for the benefit of everyone.