While surfing the net one day, I came across some interesting information about our wonderful Waitangi Park on Wellington Waterfront’s website, www.wellingtonwaterfront.co.nz.
It all started from a Google search when I was wondering how come Waitangi Park was still beautifully green when Wellington City Council had stopped watering other parks in the city. You may remember the summer we were all urged to conserve water. I know this is something we rain-rich Wellingtonians don’t normally have as front-of-mind, despite the fact that we should always be conscious of our use of such a precious resource, but this time – we were warned – we were at a crisis point as we only had one emergency reservoir in Upper Hutt (the other one was getting an upgrade).
What I found is that Waitangi Park isn’t just useful and attractive; its design is also very practical – which meant that all Oriental Bay Residents continued to enjoy beautiful green grass and happy trees when all other council parks were getting very very brown.
It all starts with the Waitangi Stream – an important fresh water resource once used by the local Māori for catching eel (tuna) as they were heading out to sea. The designers “daylighted” the Waitangi Stream, bringing it above ground and channelling it through both artificial and natural treatment systems, treatment that includes the wetlands within the Park.
Those lovely and full rain clouds we can get here in Wellington add to the stream’s generosity. In urban areas, often the first lot of rainwater runoff holds a lot of oils, hard material (such as rubbish people haven’t disposed of well) and other pollutants. Normally this flows directly into the sea via the stormwater systems all cities have. However, around Waitangi Park, the stormwaters are diverted to go through the same filtering systems as the stream goes through.
This collected and cleaned water is then either used for irrigating Waitangi Park or it’s discharged in its much cleaner form into the harbour. And it doesn’t have to be immediately used or discarded. The wetlands operate as a storage lagoon for holding the water before it’s used to irrigate the park and the neighbouring plants.
So 100% of Waitangi Park’s irrigation comes from renewable water sources, rather than the town supply. The next time you’re up early in the morning and see the sprinklers doing their stuff you can remember that, thanks to clever and sustainable design by the Wellington Waterfront, Waitangi Park and its environs isn’t just pretty; it’s good for the environment too. Love it!
RCS, Bay View newsletter 63, May 2014