Ōtaki River Annual Walkover celebrates milestone anniversaries
Over 160 people turned out to the Ōtaki River Annual Walkover on September 25 to learn about and celebrate the work going on to enhance and protect the area.
This year's walkover was also a celebration of 30 years since Greater Wellington Regional Council's involvement in the area and the 20 year anniversary of community care group the Friends of the Ōtaki River.
Greater Wellington Flood Protection team's Colin Munn says the work carried out around the river over the years has been robust.
"This is a celebration as much as anything else. It is about reflecting back on the work that has been done and it shows what you can achieve if you have a clear vision that you work away at over the years.
"These achievements have been possible thanks to the collaboration of Greater Wellington, the Friends of the Ōtaki River and the wider community. I can't think of a more successful example of a great working partnership than what exists here on the Ōtaki River.
"It has been 20 years since Greater Wellington created a Flood Plain Management Plan for Ōtaki and since then, protecting the area from flooding has been our primary focus," Colin says.
Crowds on the day were taken on a bus tour around the river where they got updates on the multiple projects underway, including the work being done to develop Ashford Park Quarry which is already one year ahead of schedule.
Ōtaki Friends of the River chairman Max Lutz thanked attendees on the day and spoke about the group's many achievements since its establishment in 1999.
"Over $400,000 in cash has been raised or donated and another $150,000 plus in voluntary effort has been provided to make this recreational paradise a reality."
Max's father Carl Lutz, who moved to Ōtaki with his family in 1935 had convinced Max they needed to be part of the consultation process for the Flood Plain Management Plan and the group has been heavily involved in the area ever since.
The Ōtaki friends opened their own nursery in 2004, where they raise native plants to revegetate the Ōtaki riverbank, which can now grow 6000 plants per year.
Max acknowledged the abundance of volunteers who have been in the group over the years and gave up their time to "make this environmental enhancement project one to be enjoyed by generations to come".
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