Whau River Estuary

The WRCT in conjunction with the Auckland Council, presents an important symposium which covers  current environmental issues and future solutions for the Whau River Catchment.


Updates now available – if you have not registered yet go online NOW and follow the easy steps to make sure you don’t miss out SEATS ARE LIMITED.

ACT NOW – Registrations MUST be received by Monday 23 September 2013


Click here to register

FREE SYMPOSIUM: Register HERE for the Symposium as places are limited to 100 people and almost filled.


The West End Rowing Club Saunders Reserve

26 Saunders Place



Our State of the Whau Environment Symposium will start at 8 am on Wednesday 25 September 2013.

Briefly, the purpose of the symposium is to provide up-to-date scientific evidence of the State of the Environment within the Whau catchment for local decision-makers i.e. Council officers, local body politicians (Whau/Henderson Massey Local Board members), MP’s, other NGO’s and interested members of the community.

We are aiming to identify the key environmental issues within the Whau catchment, particularly the interface between terrestrial and marine, how decisions within the urban environment impacts on freshwater and estuarine ecology and the Hauraki Gulf. We hope to incorporate a discussion of future trends e.g. climate change, population growth and increasing urbanisation, along with ideas for adaptation and mitigation of impacts.

Speakers from NIWA, University of Auckland, Unitec, Auckland Council, Forest and Bird, Auckland Council Research Investigations & Monitoring Unit (RIMU), Landcare Research, and Parks Sport & Recreation

Key Note Speakers:

Dr. Malcolm Green (NIWA)

Symposium AM: Estuarine Ecosystems in a Built Up Area.

Dr. Annette Davies (NIWA)

Symposium PM: Impacts of Climate Change & Population Growth. 

For the Symposium Programme click on the link below and print out………………

WRCT Symposium Programme 2013

For the Symposium Flyer click on the link below and print out………………

WRCT Symposium Flyer 2013

For the Symposium Flyer click on the link below and print out………………

WRCT Symposium Location Map


Dr Malcolm Green

Dr. Malcolm Green is Principal Scientist for Coastal and Estuarine Processes, based at NIWA Hamilton. He has a BSc from the University of Sydney and a PhD from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. He currently leads a large MBIE-funded research programme called Management of Cumulative Effects of Stressors on Aquatic Ecosystems. His work in the Auckland region has focused on risk assessment associated with sediments in estuaries, and predicting fate of contaminants in stormwater runoff.

Dr Carolyn Lundquist

Carolyn Lundquist is a marine ecologist at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in Hamilton, and on the faculty of the Institute of Marine Science at the University of Auckland. Carolyn moved to New Zealand in 2000 after completing a PhD at the University of California. Her research interests have a strong commitment to ensuring that science is incorporated into resource management and policy, and communicated to the public and to policy makers.

She leads an MBIE funded research project on estuary restoration that is contributing science to inform a major environmental challenge in northern New Zealand estuaries: what should be done about mangrove expansion? The high rate of expansion of mangroves in many estuaries is due to increased rates of sedimentation from catchments; mangroves are a symptom, rather than the cause of degrading estuarine conditions. However, local communities are concerned about changes to estuaries, and decreases in recreational, cultural, and amenity values perceived to occur with increasing mangrove distributions. This project, and related work with NIWA and University collaborators, has involved most aspects of mangrove management from local communities to national policy.

We have worked with local communities to develop a community monitoring toolkit for estuaries; to determine cost-effective strategies to control establishment of mangrove seedlings; and to educate communities about mangrove ecosystems and why they are increasing. We have worked with councils to monitor impacts and recovery trajectories of mangrove removals, and to develop cost-effective monitoring strategies and trials for new mangrove management methodology. Finally, we are quantifying ecosystem services provided by mangroves, and modelling climate change predictions of sea-level rise and increasing storm frequency on changes in mangrove distributions.

Kevin Stevens

Kevin is a civil engineer with over 30 years of experience in the project management, design and construction of infrastructure projects including roading, rail, water, wastewater and various structures. He has hands-on experience with design, contract management, Resource Management Act processes and stakeholder consultation, and has worked on several projects requiring innovative solutions in environmentally sensitive locations.

Kevin has worked for a range of different organisations and for the past three years as a senior project manager at the NZ Transport Agency. He is currently the Consents Assurance and Key Results Manager with the Causeway Alliance.

Dr Martin Neale

Dr. Martin Neale is a Senior Scientist in the Research, Investigations and Monitoring Unit of the Auckland Council. Martin has responsibility for the management of the Council’s freshwater State of the Environment monitoring programmes and provides scientific advice on the organisation’s freshwater research requirements and direction.

Martin has been employed by the Council since 2007. He was previously employed as a Freshwater Ecologist at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), the U.K.’s Centre of Excellence for research in the land and freshwater environmental sciences. His work at CEH and PhD research was based on the detailed knowledge of the taxonomy and ecology of freshwater macro-invertebrates. Knowing the distribution of communities of invertebrates at a range of scales, and understanding their habitat requirements, allows the modelling and prediction of the effects of environmental changes within aquatic systems.

Michael Coote

The Forest & Bird Motu Manawa Restoration Group represents the continuation of Forest & Bird’s abiding interests in Pollen Island, the Motu Manawa (Pollen Island) Marine Reserve, and the surrounding coastal salt-marsh estuary environs. The group is a joint subcommittee of the Forest & Bird branch committees of Central Auckland and Waitakere.

In recent years, in part stimulated by the Waterview Connection Project and reconstruction planned for the State Highway 16 motorway causeway, there has been revived interest in the Motu Manawa (Pollen Island) Marine Reserve and the pair of islands it encloses, with more resources being dedicated progressively to conservation and restoration in this precious wetland habitat by authorities such as Auckland Council, NZTA and the Department of Conservation. Official weed and pest management plans are being implemented, board-walks and other public access amenities are proposed, and environmental community groups like Forest & Bird have actively returned to provide volunteer services such as guided walks to the islands and predator control. For those with a bigger picture in mind, it would be wonderful to see the marine reserve extended to protect the wading bird feeding grounds of tidal foreshore and seabed along the eastern coastline of Te Atatu Peninsula.

Michael Coote is the chair and one of the co-founders of the group since 2009.

Dr. Annette Davies

Dr Annette Semadeni-Davies has been a member of the Urban Aquatic Environments Group at NIWA, Auckland since 2006 and is a hydrologist specialising in stormwater management.  Prior to working at NIWA, Annette was based at the Department of Water Resources Engineering, Lund University, Sweden, first as a doctoral student and then as a research assistant.  She has published five journal articles on the potential impacts of climate change on urban drainage and has presented her work on this topic both in New Zealand and internationally.  She also oversaw the urban drainage component of the Urban Impacts Toolbox (http://www.niwa.co.nz/climate/urban-impacts-toolbox) which gives guidance on climate change adaptation strategies tailored to the New Zealand urban built environment.  Her other fields of interest include modelling stormwater quantity and quality, stormwater management in cold climates and sustainable stormwater systems.  Annette is a fourth generation Westie and lives in Ranui with her partner, daughter and three cats.

Dr. Robyn Simcock

NEW TITLE – Mitigating the impacts of urbanisation with ecology: Combining rain-gardens and swales at ground level with living roofs on our buildings. Robyn Simcock is a soil scientist and ecologist. Her research focuses on healing drastically-disturbed land by establishing native ecosystems.  In cities she has focused on bio-retention devices (e.g. green roofs, rain gardens and swales) that attenuate impacts of storm water runoff.  Robyn has worked with University of Auckland and Auckland Council on bio-retention guidelines that are used widely by councils across NZ.  She also researches and consults on rehabilitation of roadsides and mine sites.

John Sawyer

John Sawyer is Principal Specialist Natural Heritage at Auckland Council. John has been involved in nature conservation, biosecurity and ecological research and restoration for over 20 years as a corporate and government advisor. He has worked in New Zealand, Europe and South America including time on the Chatham Islands and Robinson Crusoe Island (Chile). John has co-authored many papers and books including Plant me Instead (a guide to environmentally friendly gardening), Threatened plants of New Zealand, Introduction to applied biogeography and Threatened plants of the Chatham Islands as well as Gourmet Tramping in New Zealand. John was President of the New Zealand Ecological Society and is co-founder of the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network – New Zealand’s largest NGO devoted solely to the protection of New Zealand’s native plant life and runs the Network’s national on-line flora database (www.nzpcn.org.nz). He is co-founder of Nature Space – an on-line portal for people involved in ecological restoration in New Zealand (www.naturespace.org.nz).

Mel Galbraith

Mel is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences, Unitec Institute of Technology, specialising in biodiversity, ecology and biosecurity in the Biodiversity Management major for the department’s Bachelor of Applied Science degree.  He is currently the President of the Ecological Society of New Zealand, and also active in the Ornithological Society of New Zealand (Regional Representative, Auckland), and the Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi (Biodiversity subcommittee).  Mel was also a past member of the Auckland Conservation Board (1998-2004).

Mel has always had an interest in natural history, especially ornithology and herpetology, which he formalised through study at the University of Auckland.  This has lead to involvement in many ecological restoration projects, initially on islands, but increasingly within the urban Auckland.  His practical participation in biodiversity management is currently focused through 5 projects – Tiritiri Matangi Island, Motu Kaikoura, Miranda conservation area, Uruamo Headland (North Shore City) and the Chatham Island taiko expedition.

Dave Little

Dave Little is the Team Leader of Auckland Council’s Parks Sport and Recreation Department, heading up a team of landscape architects who provide expert open space design and planning services to Council as a whole.  He has over ten years’ experience in the field of public realm design and delivery, with most of his experience in the private sector, as design lead on large scale urban renewal, educational, streetscape and park projects from Christchurch to Auckland.  Before joining Council, David was head landscape architect in charge of open space design and mitigation planning for the NZTA Waterview Connection Project through the Board of Inquiry process.

Since joining Council in 2011, he has scoped and overseen his team’s delivery of a burgeoning suite of local board ‘Greenways Plans’ – documents which make recommendations for greatly improved walking, cycling, environmental and recreational connectivity.  Greenways projects have transformed cities such as Portland and Seattle, and have the potential to do so in Auckland.  This year, Auckland’s Greenways plans (collectively) picked up an industry award for both their content and the effort and collaboration that has gone on ‘behind the scenes’ to coordinate planning and funding from different sectors of Council.  These plans provide a blueprint for park and streetscape funding over the next ten years, and the first physical works projects are already beginning to be delivered on the ground.

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