Call to save the Manukau Harbour

Date: 15/03/2013

Rowena Orejana NZ Herald, The Aucklander  15/03/2012

As a lad in the 1950s, Jim Jackson played and swam on Onehunga’s beaches. He’s lived in the seaside suburb, one of Auckland’s oldest, most of his life, and his childhood memories are of his mates running down the sand, their parents looking on, yachts sailing in the bay, the wind ruffling the tall seagrasses.

Sixty years on, the boats, families and children have given way to more than a kilometre of rock wall, the motorway to the airport, power pylons, and 305 million litres of treated wastewater flushed into the harbour each day.

On Manukau Harbour’s northern coast, Cornwallis was designed in England – it was supposed to be one of the new colony’s first cities. Bronwen Turner’s family have lived in the quiet, bushclad coves since 1889. From her home she watches orca swimming.

Silt, however, clogs the beaches and estuaries where the Waitakere Ranges meet the harbour.

“I remember that when the tide went out, there was like a lawn of green seagrass when you looked back from Little Huia to Big Huia. There were all kinds of shells you could find on that seagrass. Now it’s rotten and silted out. Big Huia’s always been a shallow bay but it’s even more so now,” she worries.

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