Bringing light to the water: stream daylighting in the Auckland region and beyond

Authored by Jan Heijs and Damian Young. Prepared for Water NZ 2012 Stormwater Conference.


The historical practice of reticulating or constructing hard engineered infrastructure was best practice in the management of stormwater. This has resulted in many waterways being piped and the historical landscape being altered.

However, designers and managers now recognise the inherent value of open watercourses in providing for community well-being, including aesthetics, recreation, habitat, stormwater treatment (polishing), and flood management. The restoration of closed or channelised historical stream systems is referred to as "daylighting" and is considered the practice of bringing buried streams to the surface in an effort to restore their natural systems and processes.

This paper discusses the recent trends in stream daylighting both in the Auckland region and at an international level. It investigates the key drivers, technical requirements and stakeholder expectations that need to be considered when projects of this type are conducted. An example of this is the 100 Projects in 100 Days stream daylighting opportunities investigation conducted for the Auckland mayoral Office.

Jennifer Howe

Digital Content Manager