Whaka-Ora plans native planting for Steadfast

Picture of harbour

Plans to transform Banks Peninsula’s Steadfast site in Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour into a native haven are a step closer, thanks to an agreement between the Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour programme, the Cass Bay community and Christchurch City Council.

Part of the wider Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour programme

Next month, around 1.5 hectares of land along the banks of the Steadfast Stream in Cass Bay will be planted with around 3,000 seedlings from locally sourced native trees and shrubs as part of a community project.

The Steadfast restoration project is part of the wider Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour programme and will help improve the health of the harbour as the native plants will help filter water from the Steadfast Stream and reduce the amount of sediment flowing into the harbour.

Regeneration of native species

Whaka-Ora Programme Manager Karen Banwell says this modest planting project is part of a larger aspirational programme for Steadfast.

“The first section of the Steadfast Stream planting project will help deliver the outcomes of the Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour Catchment Management Plan to reduce sedimentation in Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour and at the same time improve biodiversity and habitat for indigenous species,” Ms Banwell says.

Christchurch City Council Head Ranger for the Port Hills and Banks Peninsula Paul Devlin says that once established these plants would eventually provide shelter to encourage the natural regeneration of other native plants species.

“Hopefully these will also attract more native birds and wildlife such as bellbird, kererū (New Zealand pigeon) lizards and in-stream wildlife,” Mr Devlin says.

Interest from community organisations

Head of the Cass Bay Residents Association Jenny Healey, who is also part of the Cass Bay Reserve Management Committee, says multiple community organisations have an interest in this project.

“These organisations include the Navy Cadets, Cass Bay Reserves, Management Committee, Cass Bay Residents Association, the Whaka-Ora Community Advisory group and Conservation Volunteers New Zealand,” Ms Healey says.

This project is due to kick off in August 2020 and is a collaboration between Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury, Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Lyttelton Port Company and harbour communities to improve water quality in Lyttelton Harbour as part of the Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour Plan.