Wellington.Scoop »Kete shaped tiles will be baskets for harbor marine life

Press Release – Wellington City Council
Special concrete tiles with a woven surface reminiscent of harakeke kete are attached to the new rock embankment at the southern end of Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington Harbor) to help marine life take hold.

Four of the eco-friendly tiles are already in place to test fixing methods, and 36 more are being manufactured locally to enter soon.

The installation of the tiles is one of the many things that have been done in tandem with the development of new cycling and walking routes to improve the reclaimed area and the gateway to the city. Wellington City Council’s project also included the removal of over 400 trucks of old demolition material.

Similar types of tiles have been successfully installed on dikes in Sydney and Singapore in recent years, and tested in Auckland as part of the World Harbor Bivalve Restoration Project. However, it is believed to be one of the first times that this technique has been implemented on a larger scale in New Zealand as a permanent project.

It will also be an opportunity to test the approach in an area with strong swells.

The tiles provide rougher surfaces, edges, crevices and water retention holes on man-made structures, similar to those that occur on natural rocky shores, and will help increase biodiversity between the low tide area and high.

Taranaki Whānui administrator Holden Hohaia said that before the earthquake uprising and land reclamation in the area, what is now Rongotai and Kilbirnie was part of the sea. This was the area. and the Te Awa-a-Taia Canal that separated Te Motu Kairangi (Miramar Peninsula) from the area that is now Hataitai.

“It’s great that as we develop Tahitai – the eastern pedestrian and cycling connection – we’ve been able to clean up this area, remove demolition material from the seabed and foreshore, and find ways to protect and encourage the growth of marine life.

“Kete, traditionally woven from harakeke, is used to harvest kai moana,” he says. “It is hoped that the woven structure, shapes and cavities of these concrete slabs will over time perform a similar function, effectively becoming small baskets of marine life. “

Concrete tiles are manufactured locally by Hutt Concrete Products and were designed by Isthmus with ecological and technical advice and specifications from Tonkin and Taylor.

The remaining tiles will be attached to the rocks between the Calabar Road and Troy Street roundabouts in the intertidal zone at medium to low tide. This installation phase will take place early next year.

The 430m long rock cover ecological improvement plans, developed by Tonkin and Taylor ecologist Susan Jackson, will also include the use of drilling equipment to create holes, crevices and indentations in some of the rockfills.

Both approaches will be monitored by the Greater Wellington Regional Council in collaboration with Victoria University of Wellington to see if they encourage the growth of native marine species and how they behave in relation to the parts of the rock cover that are left as is.

Susan Jackson says ecological improvements, such as those at Cobham Drive, are increasingly common to deal with the loss of marine biodiversity seen along coasts that have been subjected to human-induced changes. The improvements are designed to improve the habitat of native species that have difficulty attaching themselves to the smooth, flat surfaces commonly seen on dikes, which are also often dominated by pest and invasive species.

Greater Wellington coastal scientist Dr Megan Melidonis says if the techniques prove to be effective and cost-effective, marine ecological improvements such as this are likely to be recommended or required more often as part of consents for protective structures. coastal area around the Greater Wellington region.

“Normally you won’t find much alive on the riprap, but if you look at the natural rocky areas near Cobham Drive you will notice species representative of what we would expect to see establishing on these man-made tiles. . Animals such as periwinkles, barnacles and limpets, and different types of algae and encrusting algae.

The penguins moving safely back and forth between the sea and future nests in the liner is something designers had to consider when considering the design of the tiles and other possible ways to help flora and marine fauna to settle on the coastal protection structure.

The rock covering was built to help prevent erosion on the most vulnerable part of the foreshore and to protect the national road and paths. As the area is impacted by the prevailing northerly winds, the liner has been designed to absorb and distribute the force of the sea, which also helps reduce the likelihood of sea spray in this area.

The Cobham Drive project, funded by Wellington City Council in partnership with Waka Kotahi, is part of Paneke Pōneke, an urban network of safe cycle paths and scooters that will get more people of all ages and abilities on the move low carbon pathways. It is also part of Te Aranui o Pōneke, the Great Harbor Way.

Deputy Mayor and Councilor for Motukairangi East Ward, Sarah Free, says the project aims to increase and protect our biodiversity and is an integral part of Wellington’s journey of environmental restoration on land and sea.

“Wellington is one of the few cities in the world where biodiversity is actually increasing, and we can be very proud of the work being done in all habitats, from our hills to the sea.

“The foreshore at Evans Bay has gone from being a litter-strewn area where I and other volunteers did monthly beach cleanups, to a much more attractive environment for people and nature.

“The mayor and I see the work of Cobham Drive contributing to our environmental restoration kaupapa (values), and mahi which will also lead us to become a carbon neutral city in 2050.”

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