Connecting communities through streams
With fresh scones and a hot cuppa to keep them going, communities are coming together to better understand the streams that line their properties.
Stream walks are led by Aparima Community Environment (ACE), which comprises the six catchment groups (like Pourakino) within the Aparima catchment. ACE wants to drive home the message that over time, changes in land use increases pressure on the waterways, soils and ecosystems. Stream walks, supported by Environment Southland staff, connect the Aparima community to these problems through the waterways they see every day. ACE Group project coordinator Bridgett Aitken says Environment Southland is a key player providing resources and scientific knowledge.
“The community can learn these perspectives and how they can be applied at home. But stream walks are also about farmers meeting farmers and sharing stories of the river. We want to connect the dots between knowledge in the community and that of organisations like Environment Southland.”
There were more than 30 participants at the first stream walk of 2022, in the Pourakino Valley. As well as enjoying each other’s company, Environment Southland land sustainability officers Nathan Hughes and Bee Pikia took them through a number of activities to help understand the health of the stream. Pourakino Catchment Group chair Geoff Baldwin says he wants stream walks to highlight the signs of a healthy stream, so people have an idea of what is needed to improve others in the catchment.
Ōraka-Aparima Rūnanga representative Phil Fleurty reminded those present that it’s the stories we share that connect us. “It’s what we pass onto the young ones. If we don’t look after it now, there’ll be nothing down the line. Listen to the people that live on the river,” he says.