The Donald Creek Restoration project, led by students of St Teresa’s School in Featherston, is multi-year project aimed at improving habitat, returning native fish species and encouraging community connection to a neglected and forgotten waterway. 

What will restoring Donald’s Creek mean for Featherston?

  • our local environment and waterways are supported to become a healthier and safer ecosystems for fish, birds, macro-invertebrates and humans alike.
  • unique opportunities are provided where the community can connect with the Donald Creek Stream restoration through student-led art and action, as an important part of the wider ecological restoration plan. 
  • community engagement with and support for the students’ aspirations for the stream empowers the students as kaitiaki (guardians) of the stream, and encourages further collaborative stewardship from the community. 
  • fun will be had! As part of this project we aim to co-ordinate restoration activities and a community/celebration event at the stream to champion the students and communities work towards the end of 2019.

So how did this come about?

The students from St Teresa’s school, with unfailing support from Teacher Liz Lark and Zoe Studd from Mountains to Sea Wellington‘s (MTSW) and their freshwater education programme – The Whitebait Connection – have developed a restoration plan for Donald’s Creek. Students have advocated for their restoration plan, presenting it to representatives from the Wairarapa Moana Governance Board including Greater Wellington Regional Council, South Wairarapa District Council, Department of Conservation and Fab Feathy, with a warm reception.

Student restoration plan for Donald’s Creek

It’s not the first attempt to restore the stream. In 2017 previous students began planting at the restoration site, but there was little project visibility, and support for the project dwindled. This time around we hope that more people in the community will learn about the project, and support this mahi. To learn more about the stream and long term restoration goals, see the Stream Restoration Plan and check out our materials wish-list.

How can I get involved or find out more?

If you, a friend or a family member are keen to get involved, to help plant around the stream, do some historical research on this local freshwater gem, lend a hand at a community event, for the project, donate some materials towards purpose-built structures – or just to find out some more about it, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

This project is about investing in our local freshwater environment and is a perfect local opportunity for families, schools, community groups and businesses alike to connect with both your local natural gems as well as your community. If you want to do your bit to monitor this stream (upstream or downstream from the SH2/SH53 site) or other streams in the South Wairarapa – then, great news: You can register anytime for free freshwater monitoring training  by contacting Sheryl Miller (Greater Wellington Regional Council) and learn how to use Stream Health Monitoring and Assessment kit (SHMAK). Once you have done the workshop, you can also contact Sheryl Miller to arrange to borrow the SHMAK Kit and pick it up at the Featherston Community Centre.

Make sure you check our blog and facebook from time to time. In this space we aim to keep you up to date with upcoming events, images of planting and other related activities, links and information about monitoring data and progress as we explore and develop the creative strategy for the project together with the students.

Part of this blog will also be dedicated to a running photographic record of how the site develops and tools and resources that support the project.