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Published: 2016-10-12 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council has worked with the Turangawaewae Trust Board to restore a key section of riverbank adjacent to the iconic marae at Ngaruawahia.

The restoration received nearly $300,000 from the Waikato River Authority.

In an important first stage of the Turangawaewae marae riverbank restoration project, an erosion-prone section of the riverbank was restored to its former glory and fortified for intensive use over years to come.

Earthworks were undertaken in the summer of 2015-16. A batter slope was formed, the culvert discharge area was tidied up and ground has been stabilised with fibre cloth and new planting.

The riverbank section restored is used frequently by the local community and is an important part of regular waka racing.

‘Foot-friendly’ planting on the restored riverbank was essential so people could easily reach the water barefoot, as was planting that wouldn’t obstruct people’s views, and this is where council expertise has helped.

“Picking the right plant was a bit of a tough nut to crack but in the end we think we’ve found it, the carex gaudichaudiana,” says council river management officer Russell Powell.

“It is a grass-like species, that can help stabilise the fine silty sand soil of the riverbank, but is not as hard and sharp as some of the other plants we’ve used in the past.”

Ongoing monitoring will determine whether the new species being used is best for the area.

With the bank restoration completed, an advisory group - involving the board, the council, Mercury and Genesis Energy - is looking into the next steps to further enhance the area. Planting to prevent access to the main stormwater outlet and installing a boardwalk and a waka boat ramp are being looked at.