THE Mudlarks, formally known as the Waiuku Estuary Restoration Trust inc, celebrated the final cutting of the mangroves at Tamakae Estuary on Friday 21 September. They have cleared 24.6 hectares since they began in 2009.
Deputy Mayor and Franklin Ward Councillor Bill Cashmore, and MP for Hunua Andrew Bayly were tasked with the final cutting of the mangroves in this part of the area.
More than 45,320 volunteer hours have gone into the work over the past nine years.Mudlark
Mudlark Tony Ogilvie said the task is an achievement. “It’s been nine years in the making.” It hasn’t always been an easy process. There were a lot of difficulties when Franklin District Council amalgamated to the Super City. “There were many frustrations, but we’re a persistent bunch,” Tony said. It all paid off with the Mudlarks being granted a consent to clear 75 hectares.
Dave Gribble said, “It’s only one step completed, but it’s good. Council have really helped with the event, providing marquees, chairs and trestle tables.”
Waiuku locals who attended the event also commented on the changes. Gaylene Martin said, “They’ve done a wonderful job. It’s incredible really.” There has been an increase of bird life, fish life and use of the estuary by various groups. The Mudlarks will now move on to the next phase, with just a bit of scrub cutting to get the smaller seedlings gone again.
“Everyone is so happy with what we’ve done,” Tony said.
Bill Cashmore called the group ‘community heroes’. “The big winner is you and the environment,” he told the crowd. “You’re givers. The people in this community volunteer for everything. Thank you Waiuku as a community and thank you Mudlarks.”
MP for Hunua Andrew Bayly said the Mudlarks have been great at fighting for the community. “The thing that distinguishes you is that while some people just talk, others actually do things.” He commented on the trials and tribulations that the group had faced, but had also overcome to get this far. “I’m sure there has been plenty of fun doing it, but also a lot of hard work.”
Dave Gribble said, “Andrew mentioned the fun. On the barge, it’s a cross between Dad’s Army and the Last of the Summer Wine.”
Ian Scobie said this wouldn’t have happened without the dedicated group. “The camaraderie really shows what a fantastic bunch of people we have.”
Megan joined the Mudlarks in March. “I saw an article about them, and I like working outdoors, so thought that’s perfect. It’s really amazing. You see how much effort everyone puts in to make it a smooth process. The group have put in so many hours, so it’s great to mark this section and recognise the help we’ve had along the way.” To help the Mudlarks or to get involved, contact Tony Ogilvie 09 235 2148 or Dave Gribble 09 235 8867.