South Island Rowing once again has the team at Meridian Energy to thank for a commitment to developing and implementing a planting scheme for our site at Lake Ruataniwha. It was the pine trees that the Mackenzie Basin is so well known for which provided the impetus for SIR to make a clearer plan for the future.
“IN 2020, A SPOTLIGHT WAS SHONE ON THE MACKENZIE COUNTRY WHEN WILDINGSIR Masterplan Strategy, 2022
PINES BECAME THE FUEL FOR TWO SIGNIFICANT FIRES – AT LAKE PUKAKI AND LAKE
OHAU VILLAGE – DESTROYING THE LANDSCAPE.
Over the subsequent months, Environment Canterbury progressed urgently with Wilding Pine
eradication works, supported by a boost in Government funding. The Meridian Rowing Centre
saw some of the efforts of this work, with the selected clearance of trees. The SIR Board were
left with a bare, stony, dusty piece of ground, an ongoing fire hazard and a lack of water.
This site requires both short and long term solutions to resolve the dynamic between the
environmental pressures and functional desires.“
In 2022, SIR adopted a Masterplan Strategy, informed by the voices of the rowing community in order to provide the Board a vision and guidance for the management and development of the 26.1 hectare site. Concurrently, Mackenzie District Council undertook engagement with SIR as part of their new Ruataniwha Reserve Management Plan, which supports positive outcomes for SIR interests.
Meridian have provided the expertise of Wānaka based landscape architect Anne Steven. Her special interest and passion is for restoring, re-creating and enhancing indigenous environments; and in landscape protection and management, particularly in river and lake environments and the South Island High Country. We are very lucky to have access to Anne’s wealth of knowledge and expertise in putting together a plan for the revegetation of our site and facilitating community input for planting. Planting new trees and shrubs is a long term commitment to better environmental outcomes, the SIR board considers as an opportunity to give back to our land and community. In the short term, this will mean some change – our place will look and feel a bit different.
The first areas which are being targeted for new planting are the boat park and the spectator embankment. As many of you will have seen in the boat park, this requires more pine trees to be removed, and some earthworks to prepare the ground. It’s great to see these trees in the ground. The bunds between the spectator tents and carpark will be the next area for planting works and have been working with Anne on plans for this area.
As a non-profit organisation, SIR relies on the support of our sponsors as well as the local and wider rowing community in order to undertake any project. We are welcoming “tree donations” where groups, clubs or individuals may sponsor a tree and have a plaque installed with a dedication – contact John O’Connor if you wish to know more. We are also hoping to hold some community planting days, in conjunction with Meridian. Keep an ear out for more details, we are getting lined up for mid November – this is a great way for groups to support SIR and have a hand in the future of our facility.
As always, you are welcome to send any feedback, ideas, offers or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.