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The Wakapuaka  catchment, including the Wakapuaka River and Delaware Bay estuary, 15km north-east of Nelson City, is an important area for the Nelson community for swimming, picnicking, bird watching, kayaking, fishing and shellfish gathering.

Original land clearance in the conversion to farms and forestry accelerated the loss of forest and wetland habitats, degrading their quality over generations. The lack of riparian vegetation, limited access and negative downstream effects prompted the local landowners to take action.

The largest restoration project in Nelson on private land is now aiming to plant 13 hectares with over 90,000 natives in riparian margins, introduce extensive predator control measures, remove weeds, create an onsite nursery and install a public access track. Community involvement – current landowners, iwi, NMIT students and a local workforce – will increase biodiversity, enhance water quality, reduce sedimentation, create an eco-sourced native plant supply and re-connect the community with the mauri of this awa.

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