Ecology and sustainability

Protecting our environment

Corrections is continuing to improve the surrounding natural environment and ecology as part of the development. A number of initiatives mean that the surrounding ecology will be significantly enhanced.

These initiatives include a new 10km wastewater pipeline connection from the prison to Kihikihi, which has been completed, an extensive tree-planting programme undertaken alongside mana whenua largely focussed on the Waikeria Stream, and sustainable design elements to reduce the environmental impact of the new development.

Stream water quality will be enhanced by reducing the input of sediment into waterways, improving the natural habitat for freshwater and wetland species. Extensive riparian planting has been undertaken, and in years to come will provide increased shade to parts of the Waikeria Stream assisting to lower stream temperature and reduce algae growth.

Corrections has worked with landscape architects and mana whenua group Pūniu River Care to develop a plan for wetland revegetation planting. New planting of native species is taking place over 70 hectares of land to mitigate the visual impacts of the new facility within the rural landscape. This will also serve to enhance significant stretches of the Waikeria and Mangatutu Streams. Over 600,000 native plants from a total of over 790,000 have now been planted across 55ha.

A nursery will also be established in the new facility to support nearby nurseries provide a wide variety of native species, while also supporting prisoners to gain horticulture skills and qualifications. Revegetation planting will continue across remaining 15ha of land along the Waikeria Stream and the Mangatutu Stream.

Landscaping and ecological enhancement work undertaken at Waikeria was recognised with an Excellence Award for project-based landscape planning at the 2019 Resene New Zealand Institute of Landscape (NZIL) Architecture Awards.

Sustainable development

We have approached the design of the new facilities at Waikeria with sustainability in mind. Natural light and ventilation are two key themes in the facilities’ design.

Opportunities to help reduce energy consumption have been taken through the inclusion of heat recovery systems, centralised water heating, and passive cooling features in the designs.

Sustainable building materials have been selected for use around the prison, and water consumption will be minimised through high efficiency designs. Rainwater will also be collected for irrigation of the prison’s agricultural areas.

Storm-water designs incorporate low impact design technologies to manage water quality and quantity so that discharges are not harmful to downstream ecosystems.