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The Ōtaki River will play host to two events as part of the Wellington Regional Council’s Great Outdoors Summer Events programme this month – the opportunity to explore the beautiful Chrystall’s Bend and the ever popular Kāpiti Great Gravel Grab are both back for 2013.
Explore Chrystall’s Bend this Sunday 10 February
Chrystall’s Bend is often referred to as a “hidden gem” on the Käpiti Coast. Once a sparse river bank prone to erosion, Chrystall’s Bend has been lovingly restored through hours of dedicated work by local volunteers. The picturesque area on the banks of the river now features a bridge over a serene lagoon, a picnic area, and some short, buggy-friendly walking trails.
Members of the public are invited to join Wellington Regional Council’s river ranger and the volunteers who have been instrumental in the restoration of Chrystall’s Bend to explore and learn more about the area.
Chairman of the Friends of the Ōtaki River group, Max Lutz says that his team of volunteers have put hundreds of hours into the project.
“We’ve put in many hours on that river bank. I think over the last five years we’ve planted about 15,000 trees. It really is a lovely asset to the area and I’m extremely proud of the work of all the volunteers involved. Some members of our group have attended this event in previous years and have been so impressed that they’ve wanted to join us – so it’s great from that point of view too,” said Mr Lutz.
“We think it’s a pretty special place and we’d love to share it with the wider community.”
The Kāpiti Great Gravel Grab
Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Flood Protection department is once again holding the Kāpiti Great Gravel Grab on the banks of the Ōtaki River on Sunday 17 February, and a large turnout is expected for the popular event.
For the last six years, hundreds of keen landscapers and DIYers have turned up with their trailers, buckets and shovels, keen to collect some gravel or river stones for their garden or home projects. Normally permission is needed to remove gravel and stones from the river and it’s usually only granted for hand picking stones, so it’s an extremely popular event.
Extracting gravel helps the regional council with its flood protection work – overall approximately 50,000 cubic metres of gravel was removed from the Ōtaki River last year. Taking gravel from certain parts of the riverbed is crucial, says regional council Flood Protection manager, Graeme Campbell. “High riverbed levels and gravel banks can be a factor in erosion and flooding. Removing gravel helps reduce erosion, and also increases the river’s capacity to cope with flooding.”
Ngā Hapū o Ōtaki are supportive of the event and of the work the Regional Council does for flood protection in area.
“We understand and support the Regional Council with this event. Extracting gravel from the river means that our community is better protected from flooding. Once a year members of the public are able to visit the river and collect some stones for themselves or for their projects, as well. It’s really straight forward and something the well prepared home handy-man or person can plan to do,” said local tangata-whenua, Te Waari Carkeek.
Date: Sunday 10 February, 9.30am-11.30am
Getting there: Turn west off SH1 immediately north of Otaki Bridge (Riverbank Road) and meet at the Regional Council depot.
Date: Sunday 17 February, 10am-2pm
Bring: Trailer and shovel
Getting there: Turn west off SH1 immediately north of Otaki Bridge (Riverbank Road) and follow the signs.