Project Maitai / Mahitahi Newsletter Jul-Nov 2016
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Maitai Restoration Project

Tēnā koe

Second most improved river in the country!
We are excited to report that the Maitai River was awarded the second most improved river in the country by the NZ River Awards at a ceremony in Wellington on 3 November.

Mayor Rachel Reese receiving the award from Gareth Morgan

These awards are based on long term data (10 years) so the improvements are not solely due to Project Maitai/Mahitahi. However it’s great to know that river health is definitely heading in the right direction and our work will help to continue that trend. Ka pai to everyone who has done anything little or big to help the river in the last few years because it all adds up to a huge difference.

Read on for more detailed information about what’s been happening:

Project Updates

Maitai River and Toxic Algae sign

Toxic Algae

It’s the time of year when we start seeing toxic algae in the river again. The algae is dark brown/black and oily looking with a musky smell. It starts as a thin brown film on the rocks and then thickens until the mats lift off the rocks and float to the river side. If you spot toxic algae in the river it’s best not to touch the rocks, and consider taking your dog to the dog beach instead. We’ll issue an alert and put warning signs up if there are very high levels, but it’s helpful if you know what to look out for too.

Find out more at

Discarded paint should not be allowed into the stormwater drains.

Urban Water Quality

Whilst river health is improving up in the Maitai Valley, we do still have some problems with water quality in our city streams. This is a nationwide issue because when rain falls on to roads, roofs and other hard surfaces, city grime is washed straight into our streams. Also many people don’t realise that outside drains at home are usually directly connected to the local stream. This means that any paint, detergent or garden chemicals washed into outside drains can have a harmful effect on local stream life..

We recently held two stakeholder meetings to decide the approach to tackling these problems. Project Maitai/Mahitahi is joining with Nelson Nature so we can focus on all our city streams, not just the Maitai catchment. Did you know there are 14 urban streams in Nelson? They are Saxton, Orphanage, Orchard, Poorman, Arapiki, Jenkins, Maire, York, Saltwater, Little Go, Brook, Maitai, Oldham and Todd Valley Stream. Do you know which is closest to you? Have a look on top of the south maps if you’d like to find out:

Let's Save our Native Species video

NMIT student Elaine Ang has created a wonderful animation promoting efforts to save our native fish species. Watch it below.

Watch on YouTube

Finished artwork by Victory Primary School students.

York Stream Artwork

Artist Vicki Smith worked with a team of students from Victory Primary School to create a wonderful woven art work on the York stream fence by the school. The art work, which will bring colour to the area and celebrate the mana of the stream, was designed by a team of students with each of the linked elements representing the students’ hopes for the future of the stream. Vicki says there has been huge interest by the public and the students. “The level of engagement in the conversation about the stream, and the students’ hopes for its improvement and the kind of environment they want for their future, has been really gratifying.”

Something we should know about? Send Snap Solve!

If you use a smartphone you might be interested in this app which can be used to report stream pollution or rubbish. It’s called Snap Send Solve and it’s free. If you spot something polluting a city stream you can take a photo and the app automatically sends it to Nelson City Council to be followed up. The photos have a GPS location and a time stamp so we know where and when the problem was. It’s a great way of alerting us to problems, and with pollution incidents the sooner we know about it the more likely we are to find the source. For more information go to

Getting involved

Thanks to everyone for helping to  make a real difference to our river. If you’d like to subscribe to this newsletter please visit.

Feedback is always appreciated, so please email with any thoughts,comments, ideas.

Nga mihi
The Project Maitai/Mahitahi team

If you’d like more information about something we’re doing or you have some feedback please check our website at or contact Jo Martin (Project Maitai/Mahitahi Programme Manager) on 545 8728 or

Copyright © 2016 Nelson City Council, All rights reserved.

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