Dreams of fun in the water are one stroke closer as a Papakura inlet bids farewell to its mangroves.
Trunk by trunk, residents have seen the departure of the mangroves via helicopter this winter, making way for water to return at Pahurehure Inlet No 2. Now the landscape is looking more like a recreational destination and less like a forest.
Pahurehure Inlet Protection Society member and longtime Papakura resident Neville Wooderson built his home by the inlet a good 30 years ago but well before that it was a popular spot for him and his friends to spear flounder in.
"When I was younger it was a great thing to do."
And he wants people who enjoy the water to be able to do the same.
"We envisage that one day this could again be a venue for youngsters and boaties."
He watched as the mangroves took a stranglehold on the inlet and says it's great to see them being removed.
Work is coming to an end on clearing 10.7 hectares of mangroves, part of an operation aimed at clearing 70ha.
Mr Wooderson is hoping eventually the inlet will be a destination for people to train in sports like rowing, have picnics and go fishing.
"We need as much opportunity as we can get for youngsters these days. Only good can come from all this."
The inlet will also be something for future generations to savour, Mr Wooderson says.
His five children and six grandkids have all had a taste of fun at the inlet in the past. His son would go out fishing and granddaughter Jaimie Wooderson, 18, who until recently lived with her grandfather, used to go out on a dingy with neighbours. She even used to swim in the inlet when she was younger.
"It looks heaps better without the mangroves," Jaimie says.
"It actually looks like you can see the water now. The sunset looks really nice when the tide is in."
Now the mangroves are going she'll definitely get more involved in water sports at the inlet, she says.
Papakura Local Board member Graham Purdy – the former head of the Pahurehure Inlet Protection Society who fought for the mangroves' removal – says stage two is due to be completed at the end of August.
The progress to date is all down to the support of a committee of "strong and faithful members" and the former Papakura District Council, he says.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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