Project Title: Ōtara Creek Adopt a Spot Projects



Metres Planted:
678 m

Volunteer Hours:

Location: Near Ōtara Creek Reserve

GPS Coordinates: -36.960072, 174.881453

Project Cost: NZD $33875.25

Cost per Metre: NZD $50

Metres to be planted: 630m

Field Partner: Auckland Council

Project ID: NI16

Project Description:


We’ve extended the deadline for our fundraiser to 28 February. That gives us a bit more time to reach our goal!

Will you give this project a boost? Click the button above to donate ANY amount 🙂


Te mauri o te rangi

Te mauri o te whenua

Te mauri ora o Tara

‘Everything is connected’

‘When the lake, waterways and wildlife flourish, the people flourish.’

We are the Ōtara Waterways and Lake Trust and our aim is to restore the mauri of the Ōtara waterways and lake by improving water quality so that people in our community can fish, gather food, swim and use boats, and take pride in their local waterways. 


The creeks and streams of the Otara catchment start at the top of Redoubt Road, meandering through the Flat bush area and suburbs of Ōtara and East Tamaki. The creeks and streams finally merge into the Otara Creek, which flows into Ōtara Lake, then into the Tamaki River and out into the Hauraki Gulf. 

The 870 hectare catchment is predominantly urban, and the lake and its waterways have been impacted by years of urban run-off and pollution.

Ōtara Lake was created in 1968 with the construction of a weir between the creek and the Tamaki River. It was developed to provide cooling water for the Otahuhu power station. The weir disrupts the tidal nature of the creek and a significant amount of sediment has built up in the lake. It is polluted with heavy metals like zinc, copper, arsenic and nickel. 

Local residents can still remember a time when they could swim and fish in Ōtara Creek, but today it is too polluted. Erosion, runoff from roads and industrial and agricultural pollution have all impacted the health of the creek. 


There is great public access to the lake and creek including walkways and a public reserve. The community has been advocating to clean up the waterways for years so that people living in the area can enjoy them. Volunteers, community organisations, churches and schools have all contributed through clean-up days and some planting.

In 2015, this effort received a boost when the Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board endorsed a 30-year plan to clean up the lake and creek. It contains a long term vision and key steps to transform the water quality in the catchment. 

The development of this plan was a collaborative effort. A diverse set of groups including the local board, Auckland Council, local businesses, organisations, trusts, rotary clubs and schools, as well as mana whenua iwi contributed to the plan. 

The Ōtara Waterways and Lake Trust formed to lead the charge and implement this plan. The Trust has a vision for a restored lake and creek that can be a focal point for the people of Ōtara, Howick and South Auckland to enjoy! 


Ōtara Waterways and Lake Trust is supporting and empowering our community to care for and restore sections of Ōtara Creek through litter removal, weed control and planting native trees.

Committed community members have agreed to ‘adopt a spot’ along Ōtara Creek. These local stewards will help get their neighbours involved in taking care of the creek. They will keep an eye on the project sites and help maintain them over time. 

There are three Adopt a Spot projects near Ōtara Creek Reserve. The groups have already started to muck in! On 29 April there was a community clean-up day to remove rubbish from the creek and they’ve done a bit of planting.  

This year, the groups will learn how to identify and remove different types of weeds. Skilled contractors will remove large pest plants like bamboo, gorse and pampas from the creek banks. 

Next year, after additional weeding, the sites will be ready for planting! The groups will learn how to care for the new plants and how to monitor their sites so that they can track water quality over time.


You can support this project by donating today! Donations will cover preparation of the site, plants and supplies for the Adopt a Spot projects in 2018. A metre of restoration costs $50, but you can make a donation of ANY amount: $1, $10 or $10,000!

With your help, 3,100 plants will be planted at the three Adopt a Spot sites along Ōtara Creek during the 2018 planting season (winter or spring).

Planting along the creek will reduce sediment and runoff into the lake. As the trees grow and mature they will cool the water of the stream and improve habitat for fish. They will provide shelter and food for native birds.

Your donation today helps to increase the mauri of south Auckland waterways! 


While small in scale, these Adopt a Spot projects represent a local community that is getting engaged and creating positive change for the creek that is right in their ‘backyard’. 

These projects can be a model that is replicated across the catchment and in different urban areas around Auckland.

Your donation will ensure the groups have the funding needed to make these restoration projects a success. 



Progress Photos: