A remarkable transformation has been underway in a very special pocket of land at Grovetown.
It's one of the very last patches of land on the Wairau Plain to retain any of its original natural characteristics – that stretch of the Wairau River with its swampy ground and natural springs which forms the Grovetown Lagoon.
Willows, hawthorn and elderberries will make way for the planting and regeneration of native species which, in turn, will bring back the native birds, particularly the tui, the nectar-loving bird at the centre of the Tui-to-Town project – a plan to re-create habitat for our indigenous birds. Construction of a walkway has begun and eventually the lagoon will be a great spot for bird watching.
A large quantity of new planting will happen this winter. It's been wet but that means great conditions for growing trees. Volunteers are welcome to come and help.
It's been an eight-year saga; community working bees battling against old man's beard and other invasive vegetation with support from DOC, Fish & Game, the NZ Landcare Trust, local iwi and Council.
Council's Reserves and Amenities section committed expertise and resources to this project from the outset, keen to upgrade the water quality and the stream life which depends on it.
It's a fine example of partnership between local iwi groups, the Marlborough District Council, environmental bodies and the local community. Once a valuable food gathering site for Maori, and part of an area known as Big Bush to early pakeha settlers, this tiny part of Marlborough is steadily being returned to its natural state.
More information on the Grovetown Lagoon community management plan, including landscaping concepts, at Grovetown Lagoon Restoration Project.
Contact the restoration project: Lynda Neame, Ph: 578 2013 or Dave Barker, Ph: 579 5092.
Next public working bee: Sunday 25 July, 9.30 am. Bring a spade and meet by the Wairau Rowing Club - also on 29 August, 2010.