On Tuesday 22 November, mana whenua joined Hamilton City Council staff, councillors, contractors, and local residents to break ground and mark the start of Council’s Mangaonua Gully erosion control project.
With a representative from Ngati Haua, Hone Thompson Tumuaki o te Kingitanga, Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate loosened soil at the gully entrance in Chelmsford Park using Council’s koo (a traditional Maaori tool used for digging).
“This gully restoration means a lot to several groups, from our kaumatua in the village on Silverdale Road who overlook the gully, to local residents and the people who donate so much of their time and effort to protecting the area,” said Mayor Southgate.
“It’s an exciting time for the community and for Council, who are lucky to be working with some dedicated contractors who respect the area and add our values into their mahi (work). It’s great that, at the same time engineers are putting in core infrastructure, they are also able to improve the environment.”
Now that the site has been blessed by mana whenua, Council’s contractors, HEB, can begin work in the gully, from the Ruakura Inland Port development down to Silverdale Road.
This work includes installing log weirs and rocks in the stream and building access tracks for ongoing maintenance.
HEB was joined by consultants Tonkin and Taylor and Ngati Haua Mahi Trust who will be supplying and planting over 40,000 plants along the gully to revive this natural green space for the Silverdale community to enjoy.
The Mangaonua Gully is one of seven gullies in Hamilton Kirikiriroa under Council’s erosion control programme, but the current focus on the area is a result of the Ruakura Inland Port development, said Council’s Capital Projects Director, Kelly Stokes.
“What was a ten-year programme has been able to be shortened to two years of design, construction and planting through funding from the Ruakura Superhub agreement,” she said.
“Our team and contractors are working hard to deliver a natural green space for the Silverdale community that complements the current development in the area.”
Construction is expected to begin in December 2022 and be complete by mid-2023. The native vegetation planting will finish in 2024.
These works are funded through Council’s 2021-31 Long-Term Plan with partial funding from Tainui Group Holdings through the Ruakura Inland Port West project.