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Water works for youth leaders

Providing a constant water supply to the biomass in the bioreactors at Te Hōnonga a Iwi is vital to the restoration’s success and fortunately Miriam Scott and Caleb Young are on the job.

This young Water Management team monitors that enough water is being delivered to the bioreactors to ensure the aerobic microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi, living within the biomass can survive in their optimal conditions.

By supporting the process of converting bio-organic waste into a high-quality compost right at Rosedale Park, Miriam and Caleb are helping the project reduce the carbon emissions that would be created by transporting the organic waste off the site and importing compost.

The compost is used to increase plant survival and growth rates at the restoration, which also helps sequester more carbon quicker.

Rainwater that’s collected by a local business supplies most of the water to the bioreactors and Miriam and Caleb ensure the pump has power and the filter is clear, so that the pump can operate smoothly.

“Sometimes we do not have enough rain for the bioreactors' needs so we are in charge of communicating with the secondary water supplier, Watercare,” says Miriam, who is 19 and in her first year at university. “We regularly check the water levels and if we are low on water and we know rain is not likely, we contact Brendon at Watercare.”

Watercare needs a week’s notice to deliver water as the transfer is co-ordinated with another project business partner, Ventia. Sometimes the rain arrives in time and Miriam and Caleb can cancel the order.

The other part of checking the water system is making sure that the hoses are functioning effectively within the reactors, and Miriam and Caleb both helped source the wooden pallets the bioreactors sit on from the local waste stream.

But the pair’s commitment to Te Hōnonga a Iwi Restoring Rosedale Park goes further than water management. They both attend most community working bees to pick up mulch to put in the reactors, plant, sow cover crops or release plants from the weeds.

Growing up, Miriam has played hockey at North Harbour Hockey Association, giving her a direct connection to the project, which she sees as a way to give back to the community. She is also the daughter of project manager Nicky Shave.

“I care about the environment’s wellbeing so contributing to Te Hōnonga a Iwi is important to me. I am studying Global Studies at university and my major is Global Environment and Sustainable Development, so I believe this restoration project will further help me learn about human impact on the environment and ways to mitigate and adapt to climate change.”

Caleb, 18, is an electrical apprentice who likes fixing things and helping people so the water management role suits his interests. “The school I graduated from is a contributor to Te Hononga a Iwi. So I had connections with the project through school and Miriam.”

The pair say the most satisfying part of contributing to Te Hōnonga a Iwi is seeing the growth of native plants on the land as it starts to regenerate. They also appreciate seeing school students getting involved and caring about the environment, as education is crucial to sustainability.

“We both believe that environmental projects such as Te Hōnonga a Iwi are important because having a local restoration where people can offer service to increase the wellbeing of the planet and mitigate climate change is what we need to do across Aotearoa and across the world to keep global warming at the level it is,” says Miriam.

“We are going to be living and working in a very challenging environment if we all do not take action to do what we can to stop global warming. Also, this project invests in increasing the wellbeing of the local ecosystems and helping biodiversity across the world to flourish again which we will benefit from in the future.”

Both are conscious of the environment in their everyday lives, as well. Caleb is careful not to contribute to wasteful use of resources, and works and socialises locally to reduce his impact on the environment.

Miriam drives an EV car and avoids single use plastics at home. “I am studying to have a career in mitigating climate change. I exercise by running locally from my home. I try not to waste food and I recycle or repurpose clothing.

If you would like to volunteer to help with the Te Hōnoga a Iwi Restoring Rosedale Park project, email

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Brad Clark
Brad Clark
17. Aug. 2023

Awesome work! Thank you Miriam and Caleb! :-)

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