From chopper to chipper for mangroves
A plan to rid one of the country's largest harbours of unwanted mangroves is off to a $90,000 start in south Auckland.
The Puhinui estuary feeds into the Manukau Harbour but is clogged up by the plants.
Volunteers, assisted by a helicopter, are being used to clear about 1.8ha as part of the ratepayer funded project that is being steered by the Manurewa Marae.
Marae chairman Rangi McLean says the work is being done to give the community access to the harbour for recreational use.
"I'm over the moon. We had to apologise to some residents about the noise but they just told us to get the work done.
"We still want to get the wider community involved on weekends to remove the mangroves."
The work is supported by the Manurewa Local Board and chairman Simeon Brown says it is part of a wider council initiative to get rid of about 20 hectares of the plants from the Manukau.
The community was consulted before the start of the project and Brown says he is looking forward to the results it will bring.
"Thirty to 40 years ago these mangroves weren't there ... they've come about due to things like the changing environment and subdivisions."
The removed mangroves are being mulched.
The Manukau Harbour has a water surface area of 394 square kilometres and is said to be the second largest on the west coast behind the Kaipara, located further north.