Pakuranga Creek

Trash Pile

Found this trash pile here whilst exploring the Pakuranga creek. Will let the Watercare Harbour Clean-Up Trust guys know about it and offer to help.

UPDATE We did, 11 Garbage bags of trash. It will be interesting to see what it looks like in a month or so to see how fast stuff is building up.
Cleaning Up
Shaun and Jett

Watercare Harbour Clean-Up Trust

Heading out on the boat
Heading out on the boat

Today I went out on the Watercare Harbour Clean-Up Trust boat. We set off at a leisurely pace from downtown auckland in a rugged little boat (they are getting a new one next month) and headed under the Harbour Bridge out to the entrance to the Whau river. We kayaked over to Pollen Island and in just a few hours filled 9 bags with plastic before heading back. Amongst the expected bottles, bags and wrappers we also found:

  • One of those really old coke bottles with the removable black base
  • Lots of balls and kids toys
  • Fishing gear
  • x4 Syringes (Needles)
  • A geo-cache
  • x2 LPG Canisters

These guys have been doing this for 10 years and made a huge difference to the health of the Harbour. There is still a lot of historical waste to remove but we desperately need better source control. Interestingly they would prefer plastic to break down slower so it is easier to collect and remove. I left a lot of toxic little bits in the sand and rushes. I am looking forward to heading out again with Skipper Ben and hopefully the organiser Hayden Smith who are both awesome guys.


Map Walked
Where I have walked

In trying to understand why the estuary is so sick I have been exploring it, mostly on foot but some areas are easier to get to by Kayak.

Scaly contamination

I am used to seeing icky contaminated run off like this. From here. UPDATE: I think this is bubbling up from landfill (we have over 200 different sites around Auckland City). I have asked Auckland Council about it.

Bright Orange Mud

But this is just weird, it dries hard. Like the mud is covered in milky ice. I found it here.

Scaly White Stuff
Scaly White Stuff

Powerhouse Civil

Dumping. Another slip. The gravel below the high tide line.
Dumping. Another slip. The gravel below the high tide line.

I was looking for erosion sites when I saw Powerhouse Civil actually dumping material into Tamaki Estuary here. I will let Auckland Council know tomorrow.

UPDATE: (2 Weeks later) Rowan from By-Laws called me and is referring it to a pollution dept.


Zinc contamination in sediment
Zinc contamination in sediment

I didn’t really get how zinc from galvanised roofs could be poisoning the estuary until I made this map. I found a presentation by Marcus Cameron which suggests that sites the source (the head of the estuary) are trending up (more zinc). At the same stormwater conference Judy Anne Ansen showed a pie chart on Industrial (Mt Wellington) zinc sources with about 80% attributed to roofs.

Marine report card for Tamaki is here:

More in depth articles on the zinc problem here:

My Questions/ Answered:

  1. How bad is zinc for the environment & what is it hurting? / 50% of organisms are expected to be affected
  2. Can we remove it without moving the mud?
  3. Is painting industrial roofs clearly the most effective fix? / Yes, tho storm water ponds can be great and they have other benefits

My Nursery


1 Karaka Trees (grown from urban seed)

2 Karaka Trees (grown from urban seed)
3 Locquet Trees (grown from urban seed)
10 Carex Lessoniana (bought – will divide)
8 Passionfruit plants (grown from stray seedlings)
1000 Pohutakawa seeds (grown from local seeds)

16 Pear Trees (cloned from urban source)
6 Pohutakawa Trees (cloned from urban source)

10 Puriri Trees (Wai O Taki Bay seed)
30 Cabage Trees (urban seed)
10 Nikau Trees (Maungatapere seeds)
10 xxx? Trees (Maungatapere seeds)
12 Karaka Trees (Mt Wellington seed)