I’m happy to hand the BayBuzz “microphone” to HB Regional Councillor Kevin Rose, who has some good news for the Bay. Here is a recent radio report filed by Kevin for his News Talk ZB broadcast.
“Last week the Regional Council announced the securing of funding to enable the building of an interpretation site and education centre at the Pekapeka wetland just south of Pakipaki on State Highway 2.
An architecturally designed area including 300 metres of boardwalk with lawns and bridges will be constructed. The interpretation site will be sited outdoors and will have display panels featuring the rehabilitation of the wetland, its ecology and the significance of wetlands in the natural world. It will also feature the historical aspects of Pekapeka for both Maori and Pakeha. Council expects that this work will take about two years to complete.
Funding for this exciting project has come from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board and the Hawke’s Bay Community Foundation as well from the Regional Council.
We commenced work on the restoring of Hawke’s Bay’s largest wetland over ten years ago, and as a newly elected councillor it was one of the first projects of work that I inspected. Then it was little more than a willow infested swamp and the smell of the rotting vegetation made you drive that little bit faster past its location. I can recall it being spoken of as “just another stinking bog”
Using mainly a helicopter for delivery a spraying programme was instigated which targeted mainly the many willow trees clustered throughout the wetland. With the assistance of many community groups including Forest and Bird, clearing away of debris and the planting a number of suitable species was undertaken, much of this work being done on a voluntary basis.
Pekapeka is considered to be of great cultural significance through all of the East Coast and Maori who are keen to help in the restoration of Pekapeka had for some time been unhappy with the condition of what was once a healthy wetland and major food source. From the inception of the restoration Mrs. Waa Harris representing the Maori community from Pakipaki has been an enthusiastic supporter of the work.
It is my expectation that in the near future this wetland, with its proliferation of birdlife and native fauna will be regarded as a jewel in the crown of Hawke’s Bay’s natural treasures.
Despite the continuing talk of recession and other perceived difficulties blamed on human beings I can say that some very good things are happening.”
HB Regional Councillor