Donalds Creek Freshwater Restoration Project 2019

St Teresa's project initiation (2017)

Since 2017  students at St. Teresa's school have been taking part in Mountains to Sea Wellington freshwater programs. They've raised whitebait, explored rivers and streams right across the catchment and thought about what they could do in their local area. From this, the class developed a vision for what the nearby Donald Stream area could become. Their plan included a picnic area with bins, the right trees to attract native birds, clear water in the stream and healthy biodiversity with plants, insects and fish and even an “eel hotel”. Find out more about the students involved in the 2017 project initiation.

Keep up to date

Have a look though this blog to see all of the amazing past events at this stream and to keep up to date with future ones:
Donalds Creek Kaitiakitanga blog

From these initial school projects, the community has been inspired to come and take more steps as guardians of this stream.

Inspiring the community (2019)

With thanks to Trust House Limited, MTSW were able to sub-contract local artist Siv Fjaerstad to work with the students to help coordinate a stream celebration on the 30th November 2019. Everyone was invited to come along to a fun-filled, freshwater event where locals could spend some time getting to know the stream and learn about the great mahi achieved so far by St Teresa's students and supporters to restore the freshwater ecosystem.


The event

Visitors to the event were able to take part in the Kaitiakitanga Challenge, which was directed by the fortune tellers that the St Teresa's students had made. These directed participants to various activities and stalls on the day. Below are the eight types of stalls the fortune tellers would lead people to, giving them a range of fun experiences for them to interact with and learn about Donalds Creek.

Event stalls


This station was all about bringing the local community to the stream and inspiring them to bring their friends and family awareness to it. It was set up with an ABC bike check run by Moana Bike Trail, where they helped check over peoples bikes as a way to prompt people access the site by bike. On the table at their station they had a large printout map where you could draw the path from your home to Donalds Creek.


The Mountains to Sea Wellington station covered everything freshwater monitoring, allowing people to get up close and personal with life in the stream including  macro-invertebrates, which are the amazing bugs that live in our local streams. There were also several baby tuna (eel), a freshwater crayfish and bullies found that people were able to look at, and were later released back into the stream by participants.


For those interested in the history of the local area, and how the steam has been a part of the community over the years,  locals shared stories of the region, old site maps, and Māori names of the streams.


On the underside of the bridge a mural waterscape had been painted for the locals to stencil on their own freshwater flora and fauna and leave their creative mark on the restoration site. There was also a chill area laid out for people to come collage, colour in Taniwha, and press plants.


Hungry? You can't hold an event from 12:00 until 2:30 without good food for all. We were lucky enough to have some amazing baking from a range of our volunteers. A simple koha donation got you some yummy brownies, cakes and savoury items whilst also support continued restoration efforts.


Tackle the not so explosive rapids and race a nature made boat down the stream. Kids and adults alike could make mini boats from leaves and test the velocity of the stream by embarking them down the stretch of water alongside the event.


Between the chill area and the yummy kai, people could take some time to take in the beautiful sounds of nature and listen to music from Warren Maxwell.

Tidy Tuna

A great opportunity to look after the flora on the river bank and provide Mulch for the native grasses St. Teresa's school had planned earlier in the year. This stall was also run by the sustainable coastlines, who were also happy to help educate around current NZ water issues.

“We were fortunate to have on our side many wonderful and inspiring people, groups and organisations who helped make this event possible”

- Siv Fjaerstad

The event

Once you had completed at least 5 of the activities, the participants would enter into the draw for beautiful freshwater books and resources donated by Amber McEwan. Whether they won a prize or not, every participant walked away with a limited edition Donald’s Creek Fortune Teller or a coloured in taniwha, or knowing they had painted a stencil onto the under bridge mural, or the memory of having captured, identified and learnt the names of a macro-invertebrate, said hello to a baby eel, explored a catchment, watered a plant, and more. These were beautiful and meaningful experiences and memories from the day and stream.

Continued restoration

After this event more community within the Wairarapa Moana have been given ties to take guardianship over their local stream. Students of St Teresa's plan to continue their freshwater monitoring and tree planting through out 2020. An exciting permanent installation to this area is also the science table designed by the wonderful Siv Fjaerstad, which was show cased at the restoration event. A big thanks to Rotary and the Lionesses clubs for supporting this incredible installation to happen. Please stay up to date with community planting days and actions on the Donald's Creek Kaitiakitanga Blog.

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