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Upper Tukituki Catchment community meeting

Are you concerned about river management in the Upper Tukituki or maybe you want to know what to do in a civil emergency?

The Upper Tukituki Catchment Group are hosting a community meeting at the Ongaonga Town Hall on Sunday 16th July from 2.30pm to 5pm. Upper Tukituki residents and landowners are invited to hear from Fire and Emergency NZ about the Fire and Emergency and Civil Defence plan following Cyclone Gabrielle. It is also an opportunity to find out more about the newly formed Upper Tukituki Catchment Group and upcoming projects around river management.

“This is our first public open day and we encourage anyone who is interested to come along and find out who we are and what we are doing”, says Hamish Bibby, Ongaonga farmer and Chair of the Upper Tukituki Catchment Group. “This is an opportunity for us to connect with each other, share important information, and collectively shape the future direction of our catchment”.

Unlike some neighbouring catchments, Upper Tukituki is not dealing with high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in their waterways. They do however have their own issues to deal with, including willow management and flood protection for Ongaonga. “Following Gabrielle it became clearer to us where our priorities lie”, says Hamish.

Upper Tukituki, the main arm of the Tukituki River, has been battling with self seeded willows for many years. The river channel is blocked with willows and shingle ‘islands’ which are pushing the river through a new course. As the willows age, the extraction costs and the potential implications for those downstream increase significantly. Erosion is impacting on landowners ability to farm their land and is significantly increasing the sediment load in the river which has a detrimental effect on macro-invertebrates and the overall health of the waterway.

During cyclone Gabrielle the Ongaonga stop bank breached and the resulting flooding caused widespread damage. Residents are concerned about future flooding events and the Upper Tukituki catchment group is identifying what can be done to prevent a similar situation from happening again, as well as educating the local community on what to do in an emergency. "As responsible community members, it is crucial that we are well-prepared for emergencies”, says Hamish. “We have invited Fire and Emergency NZ to provide valuable insights on emergency response plans specifically tailored to our catchment area”.

The community meeting will be supported by Tukituki Land Care, a recently formed farmer-led collective working with sub-catchment groups of the Tukituki River. The group recently opened applications for its inaugural $10,000 demonstration grants and invited each sub-catchment group of the Tukituki River to apply for a grant which has demonstration value. As the Upper Tukituki Catchment Group considers their application they invite you to come along to the meeting to find out more.

Tea and coffee will be available from 2.30pm. For further information and RSVP please contact Fiona Paterson on

Upper Tukituki River during recent flooding.

Upper Tukituki River during recent flooding

Holly Ormond

Communications Coordinator, Tukituki Land Care


Phone: 0275098984


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