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History of Karamea Kaiawhina O Te Wahapuu - Karamea Estuary Enhancement Project

KEEP is providing a buffer for the habitat of indigenous species and restoring corridors for native species.
By channeling visitors to Karamea Estuary along a well formed walkway and boardwalk KEEP is optimistic that this will have the dual benefits of reducing detrimental impacts on plant and animal communities in the mudflats and saltmarsh by unmanaged traffic. It will also deepen the awareness and value visitors place on wetlands through the interpretation of and interaction with the estuary.
KEEP has been revegetating Karamea Estuary and surrounds with endemic, eco-sourced flora and will continue to do this with the aim of supporting greater coherence in the estuarine ecosystem.
KEEP has a policy of providing educational opportunities and active involvement for members of the community and local students. To date, the Group has facilitated hundreds of hours of participation in enhancing and learning about the estuary.
Benefits to the community:
Providing educational opportunities around the themes of wetland awareness, habitat restoration, and Maori concepts(such as kaitiakitanga in relation to sustainable management of our natural resources) to Karamea Area School students is a key aim for the group. KEEP has continued to work closely with the school throughout the project.
KEEP maintain and inclusive approach when publicising their activities and in encouraging newcomers to the group.
Through the process of designing the walkway, considerable thought was given to how KEEP can encourage maximum accessibility for people of all ages and abilities. Essentially, KEEP wanted the walkway to be community friendly. Now, all completed sections of the walkway are wheelchair accessible and have high quality walking surface and seating suitable for elderly members of the community.
Consideration was also given to supporting economic sustainability in the Karamea community. An issue for the district is that there are few recreational opportunities within walking distance of the township. Many visitors come to tramp the Heaphy Great Walk. By creating the Karamea Estuary walkway, KEEP would provide another incentive to keep visitors in the area longer and also to attract niche market travelers such as bird watchers. Creating an interpretive walk and having interpretive brochures at the visitor centre will attract such a population.
Through the opportunities for participation and recreation at the estuary, KEEP believe that members of the community will enjoy a greater sense of belonging, coherence and pride as we work to achieve our goals together.