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Sustainable Neighbourhoods Programme


Children of the Whau

An environmental and community partnering programme.

The Whau River Catchment Trust (WRCT) is currently the Auckland Council’s Sustainable Neighbourhoods programme facilitator for the Whau River Catchment, and provides advice and practical help so that communities can improve their environments and become more sustainable.

Projects are initiated by at least three households or properties and are self-managed by community members, with one or two community members sharing a spokesperson or voluntary neighbourhood Coordinator role. Council assigns a facilitator from community organisations, such as the WRCT, to each neighbourhood to assist the neighbourhoods in achieving their own goals. As a facilitator we help you define your project’s goals, prepare an action plan, facilitate meetings, organise events, grow and retain interest in the neighbourhood.

The council can also support your project by supplying products, plants, equipment or services, providing training and advice, building networks with other Sustainable Neighbourhoods and help to monitor and evaluate beneficial changes to the environment.

Neighbourhood projects typically start with an environmental restoration focus – eradicating environmental weeds and planting native plants to improve stream health and encourage birds and wildlife. The programme also supports eco-city initiatives like community gardens, fruit tree planting on public land, neighbourhood composting facilities and more. In addition to the environmental benefits, the SN program also has significant social, economic and cultural benefits. Neighbourhood objectives may also include protection of heritage features, pedestrian safety, household insulation, transport planning, stormwater works or septic tank upgrades.

The programme has grown from two pilot neighbourhoods in 2008 to 55 participating neighbourhoods (approximately 340 households) in May 2011 with community stewardship of over 300 hectares of public and private land. One of the desired outcomes of the programme is that after approximately three years of facilitation, programmes have strong community backing and neighbourhood groups have sufficient technical and leadership skills to become self-sustaining.

If you would like to initiate a project in your neighbourhood please contact Gilbert Brakey at or phone 09) 827-3374 during office hours.

Tiroroa Ave. Sustainable Neighbourhood

Tiroroa Ave SN is a relatively new sustainable neighbourhood, where the residents are committed to replacing invasive exotic weeds with native plantings in the intertidal zone along the Whau River esplanade behind their properties, from Tiroroa Avenue through to Wairata Reserve in Te Atatu South.

The neighbourhood’s vision is to provide an effective eco-system for native flora and fauna, which will also provide effective storm water drainage and improve water quality.

Neighbourhood goals also include planting freely accessible edible plants (fruit trees) in reserves to enhance the local community’s ability to live sustainably. Also to establish a local communication network and links that could be utilised in the future for other environmentally friendly works like mangrove cleans ups, swap meets or disaster relief.

Contact either of the co-coordinators of the Tiroroa Ave Sustainable Neighbourhood for more information Lorraine Turner – Ph: 09 837 0119 or Gabbie Milne-Rodrigues – Ph: 09 835 4664.

OR contact Gilbert Brakey, Manager at The Whau River Catchment Trust 09 627 3372OR email at

Wai Tahurangi (Avondale Stream) Sustainable Neighbourhood

The Wai Tahurangi SN is focussed around restoration of the Parahiku Stream, a tributary of the Avondale (Wai Tahurangi) Stream that flows through Brandon Reserve, La Rosa Gardens and private properties in Green Bay.

So far the neighbourhood consists of Godley Road, La Rosa Street, Stottholm Road and Taupo Street residents, Green Bay School staff, parents and students, BNZ volunteers and others.

Thanks to the neighbourhood, sections of the stream have been cleared of rubbish and obstacles, stream banks planted to prevent erosion and native bush in Brandon Reserve is now successfully regenerating. Several properties in the neighbourhood are working through Management plans for their own properties and have planted 150 natives so far this season.

To connect with the Seabrook/Willerton Sustainable Neighbourhood contact Gilbert Brakey, Manager at The Whau River Catchment Trust 09 627 3372 OR email at

The Upper Scroggy Sustainable Neighbourhood

The Upper Scroggy Sustainable Neighbourhood is so successful that many of the neighbours in the vicinity of the Upper Scroggy Stream catchment in Fairmount and Pleasant Roads, Roland Hill and Tomo Street in Titirangi have become involved with the neighbourhood project.

Weeds have been replaced with natives along stretches of the Upper Scroggy Stream as it flows through their properties, with hundreds more natives to be planted this season. In addition to stream restoration to increase bio-diversity and prevent erosion, the vision is to create neighbourhood cohesiveness through the process of restoring Scroggy Stream.

Other neighbourhood goals are to create a green corridor to the Whau River, increase native bird populations and to establish fruit trees and a community garden.

The Upper Scroggy Stream Sustainable Neighbourhood is under the very capable coordination of Karen Mann Ph: 09 817 1263

OR contact Gilbert Brakey, Manager at The Whau River Catchment Trust 09 627 3372 OR email at

Seabrook/Willerton Sustainable Neighbourhood

The Seabrook/Willerton Sustainable Neighbourhood is focussed on restoration of the Manawa Stream catchment between Seabrook Avenue and Willerton Avenue in New Lynn.

Seabrook Avenue residents on the southern bank of the Manawa Stream have connected with residents of the sub-division at 25 and 27 Willerton Avenue to clear extensive areas of private reserve infested with invasive weeds. The neighbourhood have also cleared tons of rubbish and planted hundreds of native trees, which are now naturally regenerating.

To connect with the Seabrook/Willerton Sustainable Neighbourhood contact Gilbert Brakey, Manager at The Whau River Catchment Trust 09 827 3374 OR email at

Manawa Stream Sustainable Neighbourhood

Supporters of the Manawa Stream Sustainable Neighbourhood are clustered around Parker and Seabrook Avenues, Titchener Street, De Val Drive and the Grove in New Lynn, properties that are part of the Manawa Stream catchment.

Although a fairly new sustainable neighbourhood, several properties have management plans and have already cleared weeds and rubbish, and re-established natives sufficiently to enable native regeneration and also to combat stream bank erosion.

To join up and help grow the Manawa Stream Sustainable Neighbourhood contact Gilbert Brakey, Manager at The Whau River Catchment Trust 09 627 3372 OR email at

Lower Manawa Sustainable Neighbourhood

Lower Manawa is one of our newest Sustainable Neighbourhoods. Neighbourhood goals include restoring the Manawa Stream through Gardner Avenue and Dolan Place, and across Margan Avenue to where the stream flows into the Manawa Wetland Reserve before joining up with Rewarewa Creek, and finally into the Whau River.

For more information contact Sally Prebble or Callum Lindsay, co-coordinators of the Lower Manawa Sustainable Neighbourhood on 09 908 8950 OR contact Gilbert Brakey, Manager at The Whau River Catchment Trust 09 627 3372 OR email at

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