More than 100 people from around Wairarapa turned out to discuss the future of the Mangatarere Stream in the Carterton Events Centre on Wednesday night (14 December).
The meeting was called by a small group of people who are concerned about the state of the stream, made up of local farmers, iwi, Carterton District councillors and Greater Wellington staff.
Water quality monitoring has found the stream is consistently one of the dirtiest in Wairarapa, and is sometimes not suitable for swimming, particularly after rain.
Carterton Mayor Ron Mark chaired the meeting and was delighted with the turn-out.
“It’s great to see 104 people who are concerned about the Mangatarere and want to do something about it other than talk.”
Mr Mark said pollution in the Mangatarere comes from a mix of sources across the community including urban storm water, farm run-off and treated wastewater from the Carterton sewerage plant.
“Together we have created the problem. Together we’ve got to fix it.”
Other speakers included Ra Smith from Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Nic Cudby from Fish and Game and environmental award winning dairy farmer Ray Craig.
Mr Craig has sections of the Mangatarere, Kaipatangata and Enaki streams running through his farm, and he outlined what he has done to protect these waterways.
The stream banks have been fenced and planted in trees, as have some of the wetter and less productive areas.
He said the roots of the trees take up a lot of the spare nutrients from fertiliser and effluent that might otherwise get washed into the streams, but there are many other benefits.
“All the trees mean there is plenty shade for stock, the water is cooler, which the fish like, and there are a lot more different kinds of birds. It makes it a nice office for us to work in.”
The meeting was called to get find out what people wanted for the future of the Mangatarere, which turned out to be a clean stream for future generations that people can swim and fish in.
All attending pledged to come back early next year to hammer out what they needed to do to achieve this.