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20 April 2021

The 2 in a Ute pilot project to maintain water sensitive stormwater assets has successfully established four mentor-mentee teams working in their local communities across Auckland.

Auckland Council Healthy Waters has now confirmed extension of this pilot project as an operational programme for the next two years with the potential for a further two-year extension.

Measuring the impact the pilot programme has had on Auckland’s waterways is a matter of counting the sheer number of assets the teams have enhanced in that time – 1,038 swales, rain gardens, road culverts, ponds and storm waterways.

The stormwater assets they maintain are intended to clean out pollutants from storm water run-off, so the 2 in a Ute work has delivered massive improvements for the quality of the water that filters into Auckland’s waterways. 

“The progress that the team has made in the last year is phenomenal,” Programme Manager Yasmeen Hayes says.

“Apart from what they have achieved out on these sites, the teams have also achieved personal and professional growth by mastering new skills and techniques and developing teamwork and leadership capabilities.”

“I’m really excited about the prospects for the future as our teams grow and we do more across Auckland,” she says.

The focus of this incubator project over the next phase will be to establish social franchise units as part of the partnership between Auckland Council Healthy Waters and Citycare Water.

“We bring people in and skill them up to get ready to run their own business maintaining storm waterways,” Yasmeen says.

The idea is for an experienced team member to mentor someone who is new to the industry or new to running a business and they work together in their community, hence the name 2 in a Ute.

Currently four diverse 2 in a Ute teams are operating across north, west and south Auckland.

Leading Hand Ryan Postlethwaite really enjoys working in the waterways, especially in doing the riparian planting.

“You get a great sense of satisfaction coming in and transforming it from what it was into something that is worth looking at,” Ryan says.

Leading Hand Paul Norris says, “I want to create a better environment for our younger generation.”

One project the 2 in a Ute teams are particularly proud of is the 283 Mangatawhiri Road stormwater pond in Omaha.

The initial step involved all of the teams working together in June, putting in 312 hours to remove 34 cubic metres of flax, green waste and rubbish and to replace 18m of timber edging.

Then a mulching marathon followed in September.

The team each clocked 18-22 kilometres a day barrowing and spreading mulch along a public walkway stretching 500m to the south of the pond.

The park area around the pond was transformed into an easily accessible place where the local community can enjoy their natural surroundings.

Positively impacting the local community is part of the ethos of 2 in a Ute – the project aims to contain and mitigate its carbon footprint by keeping it local and contributing to mana whenua and community initiatives.

Over 2020 the 2 in a Ute teams provided technical and staffing support for seven community initiatives such as clean-ups and riparian planting.

Omaha 12 in a ute team final