Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is supporting the Wairoa community to recover from the devastating flood events in March, with a range of initiatives being rolled out across the municipality.
Environment and Integrated Catchment Committee chair, Hinewai Ormsby says Council is enabling the community to take proactive measures to be more resilient to future events.
“With climate change we can expect more intense and frequent rainfall events like the March flood. This has highlighted the importance of taking preventative measures and we are supporting the community in this – through our planting programmes and direct engagement with landowners.”
“There are significant benefits in planting natives, particularly on steep hill country to mitigate against natural events like this, and contribute to carbon sequestration for our region and country,” said Councillor Ormsby.
On Tuesday, councillors visited Riverina Station which was severely impacted by March’s flooding, Marumaru Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa, Whakakī and a flood restoration site by the Wairoa river.
“It was eye-opening and devastating to see exposed land on such a scale with deep scarring veins created down the landscape. We all wondered how we can help this whenua heal and ultimately how we can work with landowners to support tree planting to help them prepare for future events.”
“It’s about recovery and safety while planning for the long term to ensure certainty and protection for our land, waterways and community livelihoods,” she said.
The Regional Council’s Wairoa catchment staff are working on the ground with landowners to support them in their flood recovery.
The Wairoa team are also assessing erosion control planting needs this winter and prioritising storm-affected areas for pole planting. In partnership with Wairoa District Council, a business case is being prepared summarising the key issues for farmers to apply to a Central Government recovery fund.
In partnership with the Wairoa District Council, Gisborne District Council, GNS and Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, the Regional Council’s science team is collecting high quality satellite imagery to assess the impact of the recent weather events.
“The Regional Council is working with MWLR to identify the scale and number of landslides from the two weather events to understand which areas are susceptible to landslides,” Council said in a statement.
“In future, the Regional Council’s planting programmes such as Right Tree Right Place, is likely to make the most difference as this programme in the longer term will ensure planting of erodible areas at a large scale.”
As part of a broader strengthening of stopbanks around the region, the Regional Council is stabilising the left bank of the Wairoa River using steel sheet piles.
The Regional Council has been engaging with Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa Trust, Wairoa Reserves Board – Matangirau (WRB) and Wairoa District Council to match the aspirations of this project with the cultural values of the region.