Oakley Creek

Oakley Creek (Māori name Te Auaunga) is a creek in Auckland, New Zealand. While heavily human-modified (being surrounded for most of its length by suburban development, especially in the upper reaches), it has a number of important ecological features, such as having the former Auckland City's only natural waterfall (which is also the largest in urban Auckland).[2]

In the northern parts, closer to the Waitematā Harbour, the creek is relatively unmodified, though water quality is still degraded.[1]
Slightly further south, the Oakley Creek waterfall
The rock-lined upper channel of the stream

The least modified regions, with mostly natural channels and significant riparian vegetation, exists between approximately Blockhouse Bay Road and the inlet at the northern edge of Waterview.[1] A walkway runs along a good part of the creek in the section northwest of Mt Albert.[3] This area of the creek is also significant for a relatively large number of archeologically significant sites, due to the use of the creek by Maori reaching inland from the inlet (landing sites and settlement remnants), and due to the later lack of strong European settlement along this part of the area.[1]

The creek has also inspired a local community group, "Friends of Oakley Creek" which is working to restore it to a more natural state, and improve the water quality. One of the group's major concerns is the impact of the SH20 Waterview Connection on the stream, i.e. the form this motorway is to take under or near the creek.[4] Other concerns include the high levels of metals in the stream, such as zinc, copper and lead, from its urbanised catchment, and the fact that the culvert under Great North Road impedes fish migration.[1]

As one of the results of community interest in the revitalisation of the stream, a set of Oakley Creek Rehabilitation Guidelines was developed for the works which occurred near the stream at around the time the Waterview motorway tunnel building project took place. These primarily included removing the currently rock-lined, tight channelisation of the stream, and reintroducing a riparian margin. Auckland Council adapted the NZTA/Boffa Miskell-developed guidelines for some areas of the stream not affected by the motorway.[5] The native plantings are now becoming well established, although the drought during the summer of 2019/2020 killed a number of ecologically important specimens. Nonetheless the planting includes a good range of native species and an increasing number of native birds are being attracted to the area as a result. The pathway adjacent to the stream has become increasingly popular as a walking and relaxation area for local residents. The project demonstrates the social and ecological value of well conceived environmental restoration initiatives and the importance of involving community groups in the planning, planting and maintenance of such projects.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Waterview Connection - Assessment of Environmental Effects: Part C. New Zealand Transport Agency. August 2010. pp. 8.19–8.22.
  2. ^ Orsman, Bernard (2 April 2002). "Unitec, five parks at risk in road plan". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 24 April 2010.
  3. ^ Waterview Connection - Assessment of Environmental Effects: Part C. New Zealand Transport Agency. August 2010. pp. 8.14–8.17.
  4. ^ "Keith Rankin: Motorway Choices". Scoop Independent News. 14 December 2005. Retrieved 24 April 2010.
  5. ^ "Ecology an important consideration at Waterview". Boffa Miskell News, Issue 26. Winter 2011. p. 08.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 36°54′S 174°43′E / 36.900°S 174.717°E / -36.900; 174.717