Green infrastructure for community and climate resilience in lowland Hawke’s Bay

Whirika is helping Hawke’s Bay Regional Council use climate resilience infrastructure funding to meet multiple needs on the Heretaunga Plains.

Motivated to address climate and community resilience, the council was looking for ideas, as well as planning and management services, for incorporating social and environmental factors into its work on stopbank refurbishment.

We provided a range of options for the council to consider, resulting in three new projects ensuring te ao Māori, community and environmental resilience go hand-in-hand with refurbishment works.

Working with local Māori contractors, we are planning to recreate a lowland forest – a habitat lost from the plains. The 11 hectare site at Ngatarawa is on dry riverbanks, and designed to channel and disperse water away from the stopbank. This is an opportunity for Māori plant nursery development and income.

Hawkes Bay green infrasture_MT

At another priority site, in urban Taradale, a landscape architect is designing a restored and accessible riverbank, focussing on species important to Māori, and attracting birdlife.

The third project will help address the lack of information about the performance of native plant communities for flood erosion control on usually dry riverbanks. We’re trialling a combination of native species designed to hold soil during high flows, to replace invasive willows which drain precious water in dry climates.

As part of this work, students from the Eastern Institute of Technology will have the opportunity to learn about how and where native plants are used in riparian plantings.