Pauatahanui Inlet is the lower North Island’s largest estuary and it needs protecting. The city has a plan now. The region has a plan.
We have a commitment to put the harbour right – it could take 10 years, it may take 20 or 30. It’s about time. Porirua Harbour is our city’s treasure – our heart – with 80,000 people living around it.
Living Waters is a must-see series of 12 short films about Porirua Harbour. Film-maker, Cheryl Cameron, lives just metres from the Pauatahanui Inlet, while cameraman, Matty Warmington, spent his childhood ‘down at the boatsheds, fishing and playing in the harbour’.
These films celebrate our precious harbour, its living waters, the people and their stories. The cinematography is stunning. December’s episode shows this summer’s dolphin visitors clowning around under a reddening sky – beautiful.
The Inlet is the only extensive area of salt-marsh and sea grass in the Wellington region (DOC, 2012). It’s an important nursery for snapper, rig (the shark in our fish and chips), gurnard and flounder, with the wetland food-web returning critical nutrients to the water when the young fish need it. Seahorses make the Inlet home too – in some years they seem largely absent, while in others they are sizable and abundant. Research is ongoing, both locally (including the community cockle count) and by the Ministry of Fisheries and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).
Pauatahanui Wildlife Management Reserve – information from DOC on this and three other ecologically important areas it administers: Duck Creek Scenic Reserve, Pauatahanui Inlet Wildlife Refuge, Horokiwi Wildlife Reserve.
Guardians of Pauatahanui Inlet – volunteer community group, started in 1991 and largely funded by member subscriptions, but also assisted by local businesses. Activities include cleaning up the inlet and a popular annual photo competition (yes – my photo below won a few years back).