Project Maitai/Mahitahi – Achievements Year 2

By the end of its second year, Project Maitai/Mahitahi was starting to have a visible impact on the river catchment and its flora and fauna. 

Work in year two focused on river health issues such as the numbers and types of native fish and macroinvertebrates in the river, gravel and fine sediment management, toxic and non-toxic algae blooms, E.coli levels at swimming holes, in-stream and streamside habitat, and urban pollution including petrochemicals, heavy metals and litter.

 Fish health and habitat improvement

Work carried out in the 2015-16 year to restore fish habitat within the Maitai/ Mahitahi catchment included improvements to fish passage and streamside plantings to create spawning sites.

Maitai River Waahi Taakaro ford after fish passage remediation works

Maitai River Waahi Taakaro ford after fish passage remediation worksMaitai River Waahi Taakaro ford prior to fish passage remediation works

  • Remediation of the ford at the Waahi Taakaro Golf Course to allow fish passage
  • Signage and improved fish habitat in Pipers Reserve Stream and York Stream
  • Fish ladders installed in York Stream and at the Brook Dam, and monitoring of the new fish passages at the Maitai Reservoir spillway and South Branch intake weir to check they are working
  • Streamside plantings at eight sites in the mid and lower Maitai Valley, and at York Stream and Pipers Reserve.
  • Changes to the ways river verges are mowed to improve fish habitat on the stream edge
  • Friends of the Maitai Plantings at Groom Creek and near Cloustons Bridge

Stormwater management

 The stormwater project aims to ensure that downstream river water quality is free of heavy metals, petrochemicals and sewage contaminants. To this end, this year’s stormwater work has focused on tracking and eliminating E.Coli contamination, and improving water quality in York Stream and Saltwater Creek.

  • Five central city wastewater leaks located and fixed, with ongoing investigation
  • Changes to industry car washing and sump maintenance practices in the Saltwater Creek catchment
  • Installation of bio-filtration swales and rain gardens at Rutherford Park to treat carpark run-off
  • Project Maitai/Mahitahi presentation at the Water NZ Stormwater Conference in May 2016

Community involvement

Schools and community groups in the Maitai River catchment have shown a healthy appetite for cleaning up our urban streams, with the result that sections of York Stream, Brook Stream, the Maitai River and Saltwater Creek are now being actively cared for. The publication of the Maitai/Mahitahi River game was a high point in the year, with a launch at the library and enthusiastic uptake by schools in the area.

  • A gate installed at Victory School to allow students access to York Stream for stream care activities (pic)
  • Adoption of a section of the Maitai Riverbank by the Friends of the Maitai
  • Wakatu Rotary group’s Saltwater Creek clean-ups (pic)
  • Adoption of a section of Brook Stream by Nelson Central School
  • Victory Primary School adoption of York Stream in their school grounds
  • Development and publication of Against the Flow: the Maitai/Mahitahi River Game (Pic)


Project Maitai/Mahitahi would not be possible without the support of the Friends of the Maitai, Iwi representatives, the Cawthron Institute and the Project Maitai/Mahitahi stakeholder group. We’d also like to acknowledge the Council officers, contractors and community volunteers who support the programme with their passion and enthusiasm.