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Ruamahanga member sought

Ruamahanga River at Waihenga Bridge during summer. PHOTOS/FILE

Greater Wellington Regional Council is looking for a member of the community to join the Upper Ruamahanga River Management Advisory Committee [URRMAC] as the Waipoua Urban member.

A spokesperson said GWRC was looking for a person who resided in the Upper Ruamahanga area, with an interest in the health of rivers to join the committee.

“The committee, formed to oversee the implementation of the Te Kauru Floodplain Management Plan [FMP], features councillors from both GWRC and local councils, their officials, and Wairarapa locals.”

Committee member and chair of the environment committee, Penny Gaylor said Te Kauru allowed significant transformation to the way we worked with our regions’ awa [rivers] to reduce flood risk.

“We now know that rivers need room, rather than being forced into a channel like shape. It’s quite an exciting change in direction and will align with a number of whaitua recommendations.”

The Ruamahanga River runs along the eastern boundary of Masterton. PHOTO/GIANINA SCHWANECKE

The Ruamahanga whaitua was the first of the regions whaitua to be completed, with the implementation programme [WIP] made public in August 2018.

The WIP aimed to improve the water quality of the Ruamahanga area through a catchment wide plan.’

“The Ruamahanga whaitua process is the collaborative discussion on the future of our streams, rivers and lakes. The water that connects us. The land and our communities. Their historical nature and value to mana whenua,” Ruamahanga Whaitua committee chair Peter Gawith said in the report.

The WIP said it wanted to see water quality for recreation needs to improve across the whaitua so that waterways were swimmable, periphyton and macroinvertebrate health is improved in many streams and rivers, and the health of indigenous fish communities is improved in all water bodies.

The plan also hoped to have sediment loads reaching waterways substantially reduced to contribute to improving macroinvertebrate [animal lacking a backbone and large enough to see without the aid of a microscope] and indigenous fish health in streams and rivers and to improving ecosystem function and mahinga kai values in lakes by 2050.

Another goal was to see the natural character of streams, rivers, and lakes restored.

Regarding Wairarapa Moana and Onoke, the WIP would see their health and resilience improved to ensure all national bottom lines are and the trophic level index state of both lakes improved.

Wairarapa Moana was recognised in August last year as an ‘internationally significant’ wetland under the Ramsar Convention and was one of the largest remaining wetland complexes in New Zealand.

The lake has been classified as ‘supertrophic’ by Land Air Water Aotearoa, meaning it had very high levels of nutrients, classing it as very poor water quality.

The new member of URRMAC would join a committee that actively contributes to prioritising projects, developing guidance for landowners, and helping with funding proposals, the spokesperson said.

Project manager for the implementation of the FMP, Madeliene Playford said it was “really important that members of the community have a voice on this committee – they add real value”.

Members of the public wanting to submit a self-nomination form for the Waipoua Urban member vacancy can either visit www.tekauru.co.nz to fill out the form, or can collect a form from GWRC’s Masterton office

  • For further information about the position contact Madeliene Playford on [email protected] or 021 819 509.
  • Nominations close on December 10, 2021.

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