River clean up could mean more flounder

By Aroha Treacher

Kohupatiki Marae in the small settlement of Clive in Hawke's Bay is bringing its river back to life.

The marae, once famed for its flounder, now has almost none. However, a new dredging technique will see all the sediment and weed removed to make way for the flounder to flourish once again.  

Operation Patiki's Tom McGuire says, "This big pipe here that's the one that leads down to the awa there and it's got a suction head on there like a vacuum cleaner and all the weeds and all the sediments get sucked up there and it goes into the truck."

It's a method that is being trialled to clean up the Ngaruroro River with the goal of rejuvenating the habitat for patiki (black flounder) in the river and boosting the numbers back up.

"Yes, trying to get rid of this weed and this is how thick it is out there, all different kinds of weed out there and the actual fish gets caught up in this vine, but this also rots in the river," McGuire adds.

Operation Patiki has been spearheaded by Tom McGuire from Kohupatiki Marae and has been going for almost 10 years now.

During that time he the small team of Operation Patiki has been monitoring the patiki and collecting data but it hasn't been very promising.

"Our last monitoring in the last four months was nothing, we didn't catch anything up here, there was nothing here," says McGuire.

The work is being carried out alongside the Hawke's Bay Regional Council from November until February 2017.