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After 5-years, Waikato RiverCare has completed its milestones at the Tuhonohono project.

  • 1.79 hectares of land retired and restored/enhanced

  • 8,315 plants planted

  • 1,568 metres of fencing

The Tuhonohono project is located 1.5 km from the Rangiriri village at the end of Te Onetea Rd, on the true left bank of the Te Onetea Stream. It is also downstream from other Waikato RiverCare projects and one of the Waikato’s busiest boat ramp/car parks, which is extremely popular with both hunters and fisherman, providing not only bank fishing opportunities but boat access onto Lake Waikare.

This project linked RiverCare’s upstream Lake Waikare project with the Waikato River. So, the name “Tuhonohono” was chosen as it translates to mean ‘link’ or to ‘connect’.

Work began on the project in 2016 and 18 months was spent in pre-planting preparation. This involved fencing off the area to eliminate stock to help address the serious problem of bank instability, allowed time to control the significant infestation of yellow bristle grass found throughout the site, and begin the careful management of the alder trees which provided important habitat for local wildlife.

Planting in 2018 reintroduced 7,150 native plant species to this key waterway. Willow poles and ribbon wood (considered the best native plant to stabilise eroding soils) were chosen as part of the assemblage of plants to help stabilise the eroding stream bank, while other plants were chosen for their biodiversity, visual amenity and wildlife habitat benefits. The team were lucky that winter as ground conditions were dry and river flow was low, which allowed for the plants to be delivered in close proximity to the planting zone. Then in November, Waikato Regional Council staff installed a new weed boom on the Te Onetea stream that required the careful removal and replanting of some plants—all done without a hiccup.

In October, December and March of the following years, post-planting maintenance was carried out by our contractor to ensure pest plants (yellow flag iris, woolly nightshade and alligator weed) and hard to kill weeds (Kikuyu grass and Bathurst Burr) within the planting zone were kept under control.

In July 2020, dead or poor performing willow poles were replaced and the following month in-fill planting of another 1,165 plants was completed.

Although stream bank stability and pest plants are an ongoing issue at this site, in December 2021 the majority of plantings were around 4m plus in height and the canopy was developing well, providing significant benefits for the biodiversity of the area and health of both the awa and Lake Waikare.

Waikato RiverCare would like to thank the Waikato River Authority and Waikato District Council for supporting this project. Special thanks also to the land owner for being extremely helpful in managing his agri-business to support this project and Broughton Contracting for the careful removal of weed trees.


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