We are a local community group that began in 2011 with a vision to ensure that Waiwhetū Stream is a healthy functioning ecosystem and is treasured and enjoyed by our community.
We are supported by the Hutt City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council.
We welcome new members and volunteers.
Current Committee Members (2020-21)
Chair: Michael Ellis
Deputy Chair: Rachel Tallon
Secretary: Grant Webby
Newsletter editor: Vera Green-Bargiacchi
The Friends of Waiwhetū Stream community group evolved from the Waiwhetū Stream Action Group (WSAG). Set up about 12 years ago, WSAG began as a community group concerned about the ecological health of Waiwhetū Stream. By 2009, chaired by Les Roberts of IRL, the focus had become the removal of contaminated sediment from Bell Rd south, and the group had become dominated by representatives from Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC), Hutt City Council (HCC), Capacity, elected Councillors and others.
In May 2011, Alistair Allan of the Flood Protection Group, GWRC, called a meeting to elect a Chair for a new community group to be called Friends of Waiwhetū Stream. A small number of local residents were present at this meeting, and after a summary of the activities of WSAG, Merilyn Merrett was elected to the Chair position and Michael Ellis agreed to be Deputy Chair. Those residents invited to this meeting had shown an interest in becoming involved in a community group as a result of a series of public meetings held by GWRC in 2010 about the Floodplain Management Plan for Waiwhetū Stream.
Subsequent to this meeting, and at a series of local meetings about the re-forming of a community group, interested people volunteered to be on the committee. At the first committee meeting early in June 2011, it was agreed that the community group be renamed Friends of Waiwhetū Stream.
A successful public meeting was held later in June that showed support for the establishment of Friends of Waiwhetū Stream as a community group concerned about the ecological health and amenity value of Waiwhetū Stream. Well-supported planting days in July and August showed that the community was prepared to support Friends of Waiwhetū Stream activities.
In November 2011, the inaugural Annual General Meeting was held to formalise Friends of Waiwhetū Stream, a Terms of Reference was adopted and a committee was elected.
Our logo: The kotukū
Image: Department of Conservation
The kotukū or white heron is a rare bird in New Zealand. Originally from Australia, it can fly between the two countries. The main breeding site for New Zealand is in South Westland. Sighting a kotukū on the Waiwhetū Stream is a rare and welcome sight.
The feathers of the kotukū are highly prized by Māori for use in ceremonial cloaks. They feed mostly on small fish (such as whitebait), eels, frogs, shrimp, aquatic insects, mice and small birds (such as silvereyes). They may grab prey with their sharp, dagger-like beak.
He kotuku rerenga tahi.
A kotukū’s flight is seen but once.
Nga kotuku awe-nui o te uru
Ka moe whakaaio ki te mate.
The long-plumed white herons of the west sleep peacefully in death.