La Rosa Reserve Stream Daylighting

Name of case study

 La Rosa Reserve Stream Daylighting


Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand


2012 – 2014


Suburb/neighbourhood scale

Area / size

200m in length, 0.25 hectares of riparian planting

NbS employed

River / stream daylighting

Type of NbS

Ecosystem restoration


Auckland Council


Auckland Council



Design group

Boffa Miskell; Auckland Council Stormwater; EDC Ltd. Engineers; HEB Construction.

La Rosa Reserve Stream Daylighting. Image by Boffa Miskell
Climate change benefits
  • Biomass cover loss
  • Flooding
  • Reduced water quality
  • Reduced freshwater availability
Societal / socio-cultural benefits
  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Water security
Ecological benefits
  • Climate regulation
La Rosa Reserve Stream Daylighting. Photo by Boffa Miskell

Summary of case study

Avondale stream. A 200-metre stretch of the stream was restored by daylighting it from culverts (Boffa Miskell, n.d.). This project employed bioengineering techniques and 0.25 hectares of riparian planting made up of 5,000 eco-sourced plants (Boffa Miskell, n.d.). This award-winning project is Auckland’s first stream daylighting project.

This initiative prioritised enhancing ecological, cultural, and community values. Riparian planting, integrated with large boulders to intercept sediment, was strategically utilised along the stream to enhance its ecological value and create a cohesive sense of place through designed landscaping (Boffa Miskell, n.d.).

In terms of climate change adaptation, daylit streams like the La Rosa Reserve Stream serve as urban water storage (Buchholz et al., 2016). By incorporating vegetation capable of water retention, the project enhances its resilience to climate change, effectively integrating nature-based solutions into green space, and thereby expanding the city’s green-blue infrastructure. The project has bolstered community resilience by advancing knowledge in stream ecology and catalysing positive change in urban water projects (NZILA, n.d.).

The project added recreational and educational value, fostering a stronger sense of place for local residents. The water-sensitive design mitigates extreme climatic events, which are becoming more frequent (Boffa Miskell, n.d.).

Crucially, the project embraced knowledge and concepts from the surrounding community and local iwi (Indigenous people), informing various aspects of the design, including community artwork, planting design and installation, pā harakeke (an area of planted harakeke / flax), and orchard design and installation (Boffa Miskell, n.d.). The overall benefits of the project encompass habitat restoration, improved stormwater management, and the creation of a natural asset for the community (Boffa Miskell, n.d.).

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Before, during and after photos. From: Showcase: La Rosa Reserve Stream Daylighting. Photos from New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects.
La Rosa Reserve Stream Daylighting. Image by Boffa Miskell

Further resources:

<< River/stream daylighting