Info & News
The Manawatu River Opportunity
I woke up thinking about the Manawatu River. It's in need of our help.
A new study has proven that it's currently amongst the most polluted in the world. How astoundingly un-New Zealand. I used to live in Palmerston North, having completed four years of university studies at Massey. I'd bike across that huge bridge and gaze down at the water, vaguely hoping it had transformed into some thing a little clearer, a little cleaner, over night. In the summer it was a brown trickle, with old, moldy logs and debris littering the bed. It reminded me off an abandoned fair-ground, a place that had had once been a source of great joy, that been forgotten by its people. It seemed so strange that life carried on around the river, people crossed it in their thousands everyday, yet they chose not to see the signs of an eco-system that was showing all the signs of imbalance. I remember thinking wistfully of the deep, clear Nelson rivers such as the Aniseed, or even the Maitai, and feeling homesick. As a child when I'd had a swim in those rivers, there was no need for a bath at night, because I was clean. These were rivers I dreamed of leaping into during the long, hot summers, and would do so at the first opportunity. The thing was, in Palmerston North, people didn't seem to realize that a river could be any different. It was as if people were under a spell, a forgetful spell. I know that the Manawatu River was once a beautiful, deep, inviting eco-system, thriving with river life, bird life, and clear, clean water. And I also know it can be that way again, though it's going to take commitment and time. Others must know this too, because when I googled the 'Manawatu River' I saw that some members of the community have been calling for a clean-up of that river for years. This is an opportunity. You could compare this to situation to your Uncle Jim being severely reprimanded by his Doctor about his blocked arteries and being put on a strict diet of healthy, fresh food, regular exercise and low stress. This river needs to be put on a new regime, immediately. It's going to take the cooperation of a community of people to ensure the new regime sticks. It's going to come down to relationship management and good, clear communication. Also, there needs to be a leader. It would only take one determined, committed person to step up and make it a personal goal of theirs to see that river return to good health. That one person would ideally be surrounded by a team of supportive, informed, experienced people who knew the river could be transformed, could lend a hand occasionally by way of advice, the sharing of knowledge and contacts, or simply via good old fashioned reassurance. Who's that person going to be? I want to know, because I want to be part of their support team. I want to help them set a vision for the way that river could be, and I want to remind them to focus on it, and I want them to blog about it on Happyzine. The world needs to know that this river's being saved. The Palmerston North community needs a healthy, thriving river. It's happened before, other river's have been brought back from the brink around the planet. And it can happen here, in New Zealand.
by Charlotte Squire