The Karamū Stream is, except in times of flood, a gently flowing waterway with various areas of public reserve. It takes water from as far as Pekapeka wetland and Bridge Pa before flowing by Havelock North to merge with the Raupare Stream and become the Clive River near Whakatu in Hastings.

There have been serious issues regarding very poor water quality in the past and in 2017, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council designated the stream as a ‘Hot Spot’ project to accelerate stream-edge enhancement work.

This work appears to be paying off. When I visited, I saw a white-faced heron, plenty of happy-looking mallard ducks, two pairs of paradise ducks, some pretty rowdy pukekos and several swallows swooping back and forth. The water in the stream was impressively clear and the amazing amount of native planting is providing great shelter and habitat for wildlife.

There is an attractive lime cycle-way between Havelock Road and Crosses Road bridges (Hastings side) and a mown grass track on the Havelock North side. Walkers can access the trails from Havelock Road, Crosses Road, Napier Road, and Anderson Park in Havelock North. This peaceful location offers a real oasis of calm despite being only minutes from the hustle and bustle of the village and is one of many treasures local people discovered while in lockdown.

Community involvement started in 1997. Looking for a millennium project, the Saint Columba’s Havelock North Environmental Group gave its support to the local restoration.

Since then, HBRC has led a community-backed venture with the aim of improving public access to the stream edges and upgrading the water quality. Significant support and enthusiasm has come from marae on the banks of the waterway and local Māori have been a major driving force for change.

Also involved in the planting projects from Whakatū to Bridge Pa are schools, churches, Hastings District Council, community groups and local residents.

The annual Havelock North Central Kindergarten’s Duck Race is a very popular fundraising event for the kindergarten, attracting up to 2,000 ducks but, due to Covid-19, the event has had to be postponed for this year.

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