Mangakotukutuku Stream Care Group Inc.
originates in agricultural land south of Hamilton before entering the
southern suburbs of Glenview, Bader, Melville, Sunnyhills and Fitzroy, and merging
with the Waikato River opposite Hamilton Gardens. Mangakotukutuku
translates into English as "stream of the native tree
fuchsia", providing some insights into the ecological values of this
gully network in days gone by (see an aerial photo of the catchment today).
A total of 34 km stream has been mapped in the Mangakotukutuku catchment, but there are also many more unmapped tributaries present. Around half of the mapped stream length occurs within the city boundary, representing about 13% of mapped stream length in Hamilton City. The stream has three main branches that flow through gullies for most of their length, including several schools, council parks and other public land (see map). The Rukuhia (left) branch originates as drains in Rukuhia Swamp before flowing through Melville and Glenview and joining with the middle branch in Sandford Park. The Te Anau (middle) branch drains developed peatland and rolling farmland. This branch flows past Te Anua Park, with a side-stream passing through Fitzroy Park, before entering Sandford Park. The Peacockes (right) branch drains agricultural land in the Peacockes Road area designated for future development in the Structure Plan, and enters Sandford Park through a culvert under Waterford Road.
A total of 15 stormwater outlets is located in the Mangakotukutuku catchment; most of these (11) have diameters of less than 300 mm (Tonkin & Taylor 2001). Diameters of the other outlets range from 300-600 mm to greater than 900 mm. In addition, there is an unknown number of informal residential stormwater pipes discharging to streams in the catchment.
Increased understanding of the soil deficiencies of peat soils allowed renewed efforts at farming of Rukuhia Swamp between 1900 and 1914. Phosphate and large additions of lime and potash were necessary for grass growth. The swamp vegetation was slashed and drains dug before burning the slash and planting grass seed. The area started taking on a predominantly agricultural appearance by 1914. Farming the peat was, and still is, an expensive undertaking, with high maintenance costs and many pitfalls (peat shrinkage, peat fires, stock losses, high fertilizer requirements). At some point a flour mill was constructed on the Mangakotukutuku Stream a short distance below Ohaupo Road (maps from Raynes 1988 book indicate a few hundred metres downstream). For a while the name “Mill Stream” was used for the Mangakotukutuku. There was also a weir associated with the mill.
The water from drained swamp land was directed to various surrounding watersheds (including the Waipa). The Ruku farm (2,299 acres) was purchased by the government in 1952. This large block, located south of Collins Road (east end), was largely swamp (manuka, sphagnum) at the time of purchase. New drainage was put in, with some remnants of earlier attempts at drainage pre-existing. Water was originally drained to the Waitawhiriwhiri Stream, because the underlying mineral layers sloped to that watershed. But complaints of flooding in Dinsdale were addressed by changing the diversion (to the Mangakotukutuku Stream in 1965 (possibly through the Houchen Road culvert). A flood detention dam was constructed on the Ruku block in an effort to stabilise flows to the Mangakotukutuku Stream (on Houchen tributary presumably - no such structures are apparent protecting the mainstem). The deep gullies were expected to handle the extra water without increased residential flooding.
The 1960’s were also when urban development took off in the Glenview area. New housing in Tomin and Saxbys Road appeared in 1965. The gullies were refused as reserve contributions by the council at the time, instead requiring flat land that was more suitable for recreation. Some early residents remarked on large quantities of fill used to “build-up” (presumably by infilling) the gullies. For example, 4,000 cubic yards of fill from Chinamens Hill was used behind Tomin Road and Greta Street. At the time of urban development, the gullies were apparently dominated by blackberry, honeysuckle and wattle.
See Map of the area at the turn of the century
Compiled by Thomas Wilding with reference to:
Raynes N 1988 (2nd ed.). South of West Hamilton–a history of early European settlement of the Rukuhia District 1864-1914. Publ. N. Raynes, R.D. 2 Rukuhia.
Bunting PA 1979. The development of the Rukuhia Swamp, 1878-1979. Hamilton Teachers College.
Glenview community oral history project. 1994. Hamilton Public Libraries.
What are the implications of these changes for stream restoration? Read more...
See some old photos of Mangakotukutuku Stream in Sandford Park:
Please let us know if you have any more information on the history of Mangakotukutuku Stream
Hamilton City is located in a basin comprising sedimentary materials, primarily of rhyolitic and pumice sands, silt, peat and volcanic ash. These sediments were laid down by the ancestral Waikato River. Around 15,000 years ago, the Waikato River started to cut down through these sediments, creating its present channel and exposing springs along the river banks. These springs undermined the river banks and caused slips, eventually eroding their way inland and giving rise to the complex network of streams flowing through steep-sided gullies such as the Mangakotukutuku.
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