Sunday, 19 March 2017

Omaru Creek

William 19/03/2017

  1. What was the stream like when Tamati was a kid?
Clean and fresh.
  1. What is the river like now?
Polluted and dirty.
  1. Why is it bad that the river has changed?
Because now you can’t swim in it.
  1. Why is the river important?
Living creatures live in it.
Tamati Patuwai beside the Omaru Creek in Glen Innes. Photo / Dean Purcell       
Tamati Patuwai beside the Omaru Creek in Glen Innes. Photo / Dean Purcell
I was born and raised in Fenchurch St, Glen Innes. My whanau had come here as part of the Housing NZ culture. My mum has passed away and my dad moved back to Kaipara, so I now live in my old family home with my wife and four children
There's a proverb that says, "Ko au te awa, Ko te awa ko au", which means "I am the river and the river is me". The Omaru River runs through the centre of GI from the Tamaki River and that proverb explains my connection to the area. When my great-grandmother moved here, back in the 50s or 60s, it was an abundant place.
The volcanic soils were great for growing, and snapper could be caught in the fishing grounds. There used to be mullet and flounder too. We grew up fishing with my dad, floundering in the shallow areas. We used to get oysters and pipi, and puha from the rivers.
The river is really polluted now - we swam in it when I was a kid, but there's no way you'd put a child in it now. There are some planting initiatives to regenerate the area, and because I'm a home boy, my role in all this it to engage the residents, to have them remember what the river is, for us all to become accountable.
We lived in and on the river, so these staged developments will become a lifestyle, igniting the people into action - businesses, council and residents.
There are still some good trails and pathways though, some good walks, from GI town centre through to Tamaki River, or along the Panmure riverside all the way through to Glendowie, all the way to St Heliers. For me, Tahuna Torea Nature Reserve is an example of what can be done. In the 70s or 80s, it was going to be a dump and then a marina, and the locals said no. They made a deal with the council and started regenerative native planting. It's a real treasure for us now.


Post a Comment