“We cannot afford to step back and let this love leave our landscape”
STU FARRANT, BRUCE MAHALSKI, BRUCE MCNAUGHT, KEDRON PARKER AND PAULA WARREN
A project about love. Help celebrate a pocket park that supports inanga (whitebait) spawning on a stream bank wedged between rail, pipelines and roads.
Where: Lower Korokoro Stream, Petone
Korokoro Stream, Petone has received much love from local groups, but less cared for are the in-between stretches of waterway between culvert and sea; where water meets major transport and industrial routes and hubs. These can be important hubs for other species too.
The project will be visible from the train, provide an attractive place for walkers and cyclists to rest, and support the existing stream habitat.
The artists will be building from an existing local restoration initiative in the rail corridor led by the Growing Places Charitable Trust.
“Here in Aotearoa,” the artists write, “our native fish are epitomised by a truly courageous commitment to love. Leaving the comfort of their safe protected freshwater homes, they annually migrate to the coastal margins to spawn and lay millions of eggs on flooded streambanks just above high tide. On hatching these silvery babies head seaward to luxuriate in the estuaries and coastal shallows before being tempted by the taste of sweet freshwater and return to the same inland streams (if lucky enough to escape the white-baiters) from which their committed parents descended.
“As with many of our Gondwanian oddities, this dominance of migratory freshwater fish is unique to Aotearoa but underpinned by a fragile reliance on a sequence of relationships to thrive. But alas the once forested valleys have long since been filled and piped. Coastal reclamations have claimed our coastal margins. But love is strong, and depleted but still determined populations of love struck native fish still run the gauntlet.
“We cannot afford to step back and let this love leave our landscape. We have an obligation to embrace, protect and reinstate these critically important ecological flashpoints. Inanga Love Park will be a tiny but welcoming sanctuary that improves the stream quality, shows respect to the history of the place, and supports both the people and wildlife who pass through, now and in the future.”
Last year, Kedron Parker, Stu Farrant, Paula Warren and Bruce McNaught came together to participate in a cross-sectoral discussion group on Water Sensitive Urban Design. Artists Parker and McNaught have previously worked together on The Wet Index in 2015. In 2014 Parker created Kumutoto Stream, a permanent sound installation in a Wellington Woodward Street pedestrian tunnel imagining Kumutoto Stream and surrounding area 150 years ago before it was culverted.
Bruce Mahalski is an illustrator, muralist, conservationist and sculptor with a long-standing interest in fish. After completing his BSc and working for MAFFISH (later NIWA), he created Fantastic Life, a marine-themed clothing business and worked as a biological illustrator and art teacher.
Warren is an ecologist by training, working as a policy analyst in the Department of Conservation. She is an active volunteer working for increased use of public transport, runs a charitable trust that seeks to use ecological restoration techniques in improving the user experience in transport corridors and is an artist focusing on art works for place-making purposes.
Farrant is an ecological engineer specialising in the water aspects of ecologically sustainable development, particularly integrated urban water cycle management and water sensitive urban design.