Greater Wellington is holding the annual Kapiti Great Gravel Grab on the banks of the Otaki River on Sunday 19 February and its Flood Protection team is expecting another big turn out this year.
"Every year hundreds of people turn up to the Great Gravel Grabs to get some free gravel for DIY projects in their gardens and learn a little about the work we do on the river to protect homes from damaging floods," Flood Protection Manager Graeme Campbell says.
You can bring along a shovel with your trailer or ute (but leave the trucks at home) and get a load of free gravel. You can also collect as many larger river stones as you like, as long as you do it by hand, and your trailer can still move. Greater Wellington staff will be checking that trailers and utes are roadworthy before gravel is loaded, so double check the tyres are pumped, and that the suspension works before you leave home.
Usually, you need permission from Greater Wellington to remove gravel and stones from the riverbed, and it’s generally only granted for hand picking stones. Greater Wellington does not allow private use of mechanical extractors as it's important that rocks and gravel are removed from where there's too much gravel and not removed from where it's needed.
Every year Greater Wellington extracts up to 40,000 cubic metres of gravel from the Otaki River as part of the flood protection measures used along the river corridor. High riverbed levels and gravel banks can be a factor in erosion and flooding. Removing gravel helps reduce erosion pressure and increases the river's capacity to cope with flooding.
The Kapiti Great Gravel Grab (Otaki River)
Sunday 19 February, between 10am-2pm.
To get there: If coming from the south, turn left off SH1 immediately north of the bridge and follow the signs.