Koraunui Primary School

Koraunui Primary School sits half way up the Stokes Valley catchment in Lower Hutt. Through the Whitebait Connection Program students have been investigating the health of their local streams and taking action to help them.

The kids have decided the big areas to focus on are removing migration barriers for our native fish species such as threatened galaxiids and eels so they can swim to the healthy upper catchment; and improving the habitat in the lower catchment sections of the stream for the native fish, birds and insects.

 

Koraunui Primary students brainstorming actions they would like to take to help improve biodiversity in the Stokes Valley Stream

They have been busy! Kicking off the action with planting and rubbish removal days the Koraunui kids have successfully removed 4 big garbage sacks full of rubbish and put 200+ native grasses along the stream margins. These grasses provide shade for the water and hiding places for the fish, while stabilizing the banks and filtering out some of the pollutants that come from surface runoff. There are more planting days to come this winter thanks to the Hutt City Council who have donated another 400 plants.

Planting day at Wagon Rd

Planting day at the Stokes Valley Stream behind the fire station

To fix fish passage problems, students walked sections of the lower catchment to map all the potential fish migration barriers they could find. Using night time spot-lighting the students and their families surveyed above and below these barriers to determine how significant they were. With help from Greater Wellington Regional Council, they installed mussel spat rope which acts as a fish ladder for some of those not-so-competent climbers.

Putting in mussel spat rope to help fish passage through the catchment

And the project continues! Thinking long term, students have designed and built a native plant nursery made out of rammed earth, recycled tyres and plastic bottles, which houses up to 500 seedlings. The plants the students are raising will go to the restoration of the Stokes Valley Stream and other Whitebait spawning habitats around the Hutt Valley.

 
 

Building strong foundations. A rammed earth and recycled tyre floor for the nursery at school

They are also designing “kokopu condos” and “tuna tunnels” – special fish refuges which will be installed in the banks of the river to provide places for nocturnal fish to hide.
Last but not least, the kids really want the community to get involved in future stream clean ups, planting and care so they are keen to reach out increase community awareness the native fish living within local streams and share their conservation messages.

Watch this space for updates on the amazing mahi of the Koraunui Kaitiaki!

Koraunui Kaitiaki are supported by Mountains to Sea Wellington, the IPENZ River Fund, Curious Minds, the Department of Conservation, Enviroschools, Friends of Horoeka Reserve, Hutt City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council.