Estuary health project ahead of schedule

Construction taking place to allow and increase freshwater to flow from the Kaituna River into the Maketū Estuary.

The project to restore estuary health by the Bay of Plenty Council and J Swap Contractors Ltd. is ahead of schedule.

To maximise estuary health, freshwater from the Kaituna River needs to be encouraged to flow into Te Awa O Ngātoroirangi Maketū Estuary.

Regional Council coastal catchments manager Pim de Monchy is pleased with the progress of the estuary project.

 “The first sod was turned on 12 June last year. We expected the project to take two years to complete but we’re already nearly halfway through,” says Pim.

Being ahead of schedule on the estuary project is a result of the work put in by many groups involved.

“We’re grateful for the co-operation and support we’ve received from local residents, tangata whenua, river users, fishers and Western Bay of Plenty District Council to date. It will mean we can complete the work and get public access, and the health and mauri (life force) of the estuary restored as quickly as possible,” says Pim.

Following the summer fishing season, as of February 8 access to Ford Rd will be restricted for further river re-diversion until May 27.

Access to the Kaituna River mouth and Maketū Spit on Ford Rd will be closed on weekdays and Saturdays between 7am and 7pm.

The road is open to the public on Sundays.

“If people want to enter before 7am and stay at the road-end all day on weekdays or Saturdays, they’re very welcome to. They just won’t be able to leave until the road re-opens at 7pm,” says Pim.

To inform locals of the progress, a tour is taking place from 83 Ford Rd leaving at 5.30pm.

Following the tour, a community meeting is being held at 6.30pm at the Tukotahi Marae.

Pim says that three key parts of the project are near completion, such as the replacement stop bank west of Ford Rd, the installation of Ford Rd culverts, and the excavation of the new re-diversion channel is being worked on.

“There’s still a lot of work to do, and a range of factors including weather and unforeseen ground conditions could impact on final timeframes, so the forecast completion date remains set for June 2020. But if current progress continues we may be able to finish the work sooner,” says Pim.

Further project videos, updates and information are available at

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