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Tawa Esplanade Restoration Project 


Tawa Esplanade is a tributary to Te Wai o Pareira, running from northern Matipo Road between Renata Crescent and Wharf Road.


It really is a special place...It begins as an inland freshwater puna or spring and flows all year round with clear looking water. This would have offered pre European Māori sustenance by way of an appealing combination of freshwater and an abundance of seafood from the awa and upper Waitematā. There appears to be evidence of a midden. Middens like this are an indication of settlements from early or pre European colonisation times.


Our objectives

The mahi (work) of RiverCare Group Te Wai o Pareira is to restore the mauri (life force) of the awa Te Wai o Pareira (Henderson Creek).  The mauri of the awa is connected to the land around it. This restoration project helps us take a step towards our goal by restoring the native ecology of Tawa Esplanade through the clearing of weeds and rubbish and planting native species that help clean the water, stabilise the banks and provide habitat for indigenous birds and invertebrates.


When we restore habitat and do what we can to clean up pollution, we enable the eco-systems to become self-supporting. This is a long-term project with many stages. Stages 1, 2 & 3 have been planted with initial plantings and are being maintained and we're excited to announce that Stage 4 is underway with more planting planned for June 2024 during the reappearance of the Matariki star cluster

Stage 1, 2021

Stage 1 of our project involved clearing rubbish and weeds from the initial planting area shown below and then backfilling this part with native plants. We held a community planting day in August 2021. Thanks to everyone who came along and made this such a success.

Stage 2, 2022

In January 2022 well-established bramble and honeysuckle were cleared from the stream bank just below and to the left of the Matipo Rd entrance to the reserve (southern side). A well-attended community planting day in July, followed by an awesome effort by Matipo Primary School students put another 612 ataahua indigenous plants in the ground to create habitat for our native manu. We were lucky to have a couple of stunning days for planting in early July, the rain started shortly after and a very wet winter was followed by a record-breaking wet summer complete with devastating flooding and a cyclone. Despite the rain, the plants are doing very well - check our events page to get involved.

Before stage 2 pest species removal commenced, this harakeke (flax) bush was being strangled by honeysuckle and bindweed​

After the weeding, the same bushes look a bit naked but in the long run, they will be able to breathe easier and thrive.

Stage 3

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This area of clearing and planting extends west on the northern side of the reserve from where we left off in Stage 1. As well as some large privets and other pest species, there are established indigenous plants in this part, so the work is delicate, and we're pleased to be taking on more of the prep and maintenance mahi, supported by Auckland Council. We are currently waiting for the broken old footpath to be removed, and plan to plant that area too. This will extend the stream edge, supporting the planting we did in Stage 1 and will eventually result in less slipping. We will also begin to infill the two planted parts (Stages 1&2) with enrichment planting - we are thrilled to be getting to this stage as we mimic the natural succession cycle of a regenerating forest.


This Puriri is positively glowing and will soon be a tasty destination for indigenous manu, we're hoping to spot kererū in the reserve in years to come.

Stage 4

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Stage 4 of our conservation project focuses on expanding our restoration efforts and preparing the area for extensive planting in the coming years. Our plan includes the removal of invasive pest plants and trees within the designated Stage 4 area. By clearing these areas, we create space and promote the growth of native flora, contributing to the overall biodiversity of the ecosystem. We aim to complete the clearance and preparation work in time for the 2024 and/or 2025 planting seasons, ensuring a thriving and sustainable environment for future generations.

Thanks to our Partners

RiverCare Group sees this project as an enduring one.  We know it will take several years for the changes we make to return Tawa Esplanade to a place where nature flourishes. However, the time to start is now! Our future plans include:


  • Monitoring and regular maintenance visits (join us!) of the re-planted sites to control the re-infestation of weeds.

  • We have planned 5 stages over several years to continue the restoration effort right down the northern side of the reserve to the end of Wharf Rd.

  • Bringing in other groups and schools to grow seedlings and begin effective trapping to control rats, mice, possums and other predator species.

  • We will continue to work closely with the community on these endeavours and keep you informed.

  • To be inspired as to what can be achieved, check out this video.

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