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Community turns out in force at Blackpool Reserve

Thursday 4 August,  2022

Nearly 2000 native plants were planted by the community beside the Blackpool Reserve this week.

As a child, neighbouring resident Ngahiwi Maraki remembers rafting with mates down the stream there.

For the past two days he was down there again with his own tamariki. This time planting native trees on the banks to ensure the health of the awa for future generations. Their home borders the reserve and has housed his family for four generations. They were happy to help, he says.

The Maraki whānau were part of a huge community effort over Tuesday and Wednesday this week to do the planting on the reserve, which runs from Childers Road by Te Wananga o Aotearoa through to Blackpool Street, Te Hapara.

Gisborne District Council staff worked alongside more than 300 volunteers over the two days.  These included students from Gisborne Boys’ High School, Gisborne Girls’ High School, Gisborne Intermediate, Cobham School, Knox Street Kindy, Tu Maia Whānau, Women’s Native Tree Trust, Tairāwhiti Environment Centre staff and former students from the neighbouring Wananga.

Council Senior Programme Manager Dr Graeme Card says it was “awesome” to see everyone working together.

“This is something that will be around for a long time and for all of our mokopuna to enjoy.”

In as little as two years these fast-growing natives will already be doing their job to filter out contaminants and rubbish before it enters the waterway and then out to sea.

The stream is one of five urban sites around Gisborne being improved over a four-year period.

The $4.95m project is called Restoring the Mauri and Ora of the Tūranganui Estuary System.

The Ministry for the Environment has contributed $2.25m towards the project under the Freshwater Improvement Fund and Council will contribute the balance through existing budgets.

GBHS Year 10 student Journey Waiaraki says as well as getting out of school he enjoyed helping the community. He was shoveling bark on top of the native plants alongside fellow Year 10 student Tem Lamont-Milner who said it was fun, and great to be a part of something good for everyone.

The waterway is known locally by a couple of names, Reynolds Drain or Blackpool Creek.

This is the second community planting day for this project after Waimata Park was planted last month.

For each of the community planting days Roberts Tree Surgeons and Eastland Port have provided the mulch

and the Tairāwhiti Environment Centre brings wheelbarrows, tools and gloves. Over the next two days a Corrections community group will be doing mulching.

If you’re interested in taking part in any of the three community planting days coming up, email

Ngahiwi Maraki, with Ngākau-ātaahua, 2, and Ngahiwi, 3

Ngahiwi Maraki says his tamariki Ngahiwi, 3, and Ngākau-ātaahua, 2, love gardening so they were happy to lend a hand and be part of a 300-strong volunteer group that planted 1900 native plants in two days at Blackpool Reserve this week. It’s the latest urban waterway to be planted in a four-year project led by Gisborne District Council called Restoring the Mauri and Ora of the Tūranganui Estuary System. Each community planting day at five urban areas around Gisborne encourages nearby schools and residents to take part so they can feel connected to the improvements being made.



Year 10 Gisborne Boys’ High School students Journey Waiaraki and Tem Lamont-Milner enjoyed being part of the community planting day at Blackpool Reserve yesterday.

GBHS Blackpool Reserve