We’re restoring 70 hectares of pasture into wetland paradise for wildlife to thrive in and people to enjoy.

More fish, flax and flocks

We’ve started construction work that will convert 70 hectares of grazing land beside the lower Kaituna River, into the kind of wetland it would have been long ago. The project is due for completion by June 2023.

The Lower Kaituna Wildlife Management Reserve contains a small remnant of a once a vast wetland beside the lower Kaituna River. It’s the region’s largest remaining wetland but a comparatively small reminder of the original taonga (treasure) that once surrounded it and was prized for the tūna (eels), flax and kahikitea forests that lived there.

The surrounding land has been drained and used as grazing pasture since the 1970s. Those paddocks have now been retired by their Tapuika, Ngati Whakaue, and Department of Conservation landowners, and made available for restoration.

Why’s bog better than productive pasture?

Wetlands help to absorb flood water and keep streams and rivers clean by filtering run-off. They also provide habitat for many threatened native plants and animals. More local wetland means more wildlife, and better opportunities for people to enjoy nature walks, birdwatching, gamebird hunting, whitebaiting or cultural practices like flax harvest and eeling.

Through the 2009 Kaituna River and Maketū/Ongotoro Strategy, and the 2019 Kaituna Action Plan, tangata whenua and the local community have made it clear that they want wetlands in the area to be restored. Te Maru o Kaituna River Authority has recently set a target of 200 hectares of wetland restoration for Kaituna catchment by 2029.

Te Pourepo o Kaituna vision

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PROJECT CREATED

28 Jan 2020

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Project Updates

3 months ago

2022 Field Days

Our 2022 Field Days have come to an end, with more than 3,000 native trees and shrubs planted into the Te Pourepo o Kaituna wetland, thanks to the volunteer support of Western Bay of Plenty school students.

2022 Field Days

Our 2022 Field Days have come to an end, with more than 3,000 native trees and shrubs planted into the Te Pourepo o Kaituna wetland, thanks to the volunteer support of Western Bay of Plenty school students.

The planting was part of a series of field days at the Kaituna wetland, organised by Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Maketū Ōngātoro Wetland Society (MOWS), in collaboration with Ngāti Whakaue, Tapuika and Department of Conservation.

This annual series, which is now in its third year, invites students from across the Western Bay to take their teachings out of the classroom and into a real-life conservation project.

This year, nine schools took part with more than 400 students from Waihī Beach to Ōtamarākau experiencing the wetland. Field day activities included a korero with kaumatua Liam Tapsell about the cultural importance of wetlands, digging and sifting through dirt to better understand soil health, and planting to cover one hectare of the wetland in kahikatea forest species, flax (harakeke) and native shrubs.

There was also an educational hikoi (walk) through the wetland with MOWS to see flora and fauna, with a rare kōtuku (white heron) often making an appearance.

The school planting programme concluded in September 2022. Further planting of native sedges will be carried out following site preparation of competing grasses once water levels are lowered closer to summer.

The focus for the rest of the year is pest plant maintenance to give new and existing plants an opportunity to become established in the wetland. Regional Council’s land management team will also be undertaking regular monitoring to check how the wetland is progressing, and there are future plans for more planting days in 2023.

Thank you to the schools and supporters of this project for your mahi, as we progress towards the goal of converting 70ha of flood-prone, unproductive grazing land to wetland.

4 months ago

Field days underway for 2022

Field days at the Te Pourepo o Kaituna wetland are underway! Otamarakau School is one of the schools taking part in the annual event this month and judging by the smiles it was a good day out in the sun.

Field days underway for 2022

Field days at the Te Pourepo o Kaituna wetland are underway! Otamarakau School is one of the schools taking part in the annual event this month and judging by the smiles it was a good day out in the sun.

The students started the day with a walk around the wetland, hosted by Maketū Ōngātoro Wetland Society (MOWS), then they got stuck into planting and soil-focused educational activities. Ngāti Whakaue kaumātua Liam Tapsell gave the students a brief tour through history about the significance of the wetland area for local iwi, and how native plants were used in everyday life.

A special treat for everyone involved in the day was the appearance of a kōtuku / white heron – a rare species with an estimated population of 100 -120 birds in New Zealand. The number of kōtuku in the wetland is currently unknown, but bird monitoring is ongoing as part of the Te Pourepo o Kaituna project.

This was one of eight field days for local schools organised by BOPRC’s land management team in collaboration with Ngāti Whakaue and Tapuika, Bay Conservation Alliance, Department of Conservation and MOWs. When the field days are complete, there will be up to 3,000 native shrubs and trees planted in the wetland.

5 months ago

Planting day with Te Puke High School

More than 600 native trees and shrubs were planted by Te Puke High School students in the kahikatea areas of Te Pourepo o Kaituna wetland last week (August 4, 2022), as part of an annual collaborative event between the school, Maketū Ōngātoro Wetland Society (MOWS), Bay Conservation Alliance and Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

Planting day with Te Puke High School

More than 600 native trees and shrubs were planted by Te Puke High School students in the kahikatea areas of Te Pourepo o Kaituna wetland last week (August 4, 2022), as part of an annual collaborative event between the school, Maketū Ōngātoro Wetland Society (MOWS), Bay Conservation Alliance and Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

The planting day is part of an education programme, which is in its third year, and is a win-win for everyone involved. It enables mahi on the wetland as part of this ongoing restoration project, while also providing an opportunity to help educate students about the environment in their own backyard and earn NCEA credits in the process.

More than 15 Year 12 students distributed the native species in teams of four around an allocated area, learning more about these species – such as kahikatea, manuka, titoki and harakeke – in the process. A quick walking morning tea break also provided an opportunity to see tuna and learn about these important taonga.

Michael Tyler, Land Management Officer for Bay of Plenty Regional Council, says the planting days always prove popular as the students can see their hard work in action.

“It seems to really speak to them – I think because they can plant it, see it and watch the trees and shrubs grow over time. They love learning about the wetlands and it’s always a bit of fun”.

Awhina Awhimate from MOWS echoes Michael’s sentiment, saying she loves working on this collaborative project and seeing the joy it brings to the students.

“The students really enjoy it. It’s great having them come back because they have a visual project that they can see into the future. They get a lot of pride out of seeing their work.”

There are several field days planned for August, which will see about 2100 native species planted, as well as three wetland and soil-focused educational activities held. Seven more schools with at least 350 students are expected to follow in Te Puke High School’s footsteps at these field days.

about 3 years ago

Schools help out at Te Pourepo o Kaituna wetland

Maketu Ōngātoro Wetland Society and eight local schools are helping out with planting at Te Pourepo o Kaituna wetland this month.

Schools help out at Te Pourepo o Kaituna wetland

Maketu Ōngātoro Wetland Society and eight local schools are helping out with planting at Te Pourepo o Kaituna wetland this month.

The students are learning about wetlands, water quality and helping to restore wildlife habitat on the Tumu Kawa block owned by Ngāti Whakaue and Tapuika.

Check out this video of students from Paengaroa School in action last week:

about 3 years ago

22 hectares of new wetland created at Te Pourepo o Kaituna

Stage one earthworks to convert 22 hectares of Ngāti Whakaue and Tapuika owned land into wetland have now been completed, providing new breeding and feeding areas for birds and fish.

22 hectares of new wetland created at Te Pourepo o Kaituna

Stage one earthworks to convert 22 hectares of Ngāti Whakaue and Tapuika owned land into wetland have now been completed, providing new breeding and feeding areas for birds and fish.

The new wetland is adjacent to the Lower Kaituna Wildlife Management Reserve. The completed works are a first step towards re-creation of a total of 70 hectares of wetland beside the reserve and the Kaituna River, by June 2023.

The newly created wetland will be planted with 30,000 native plants this spring, and development of a pest animal control programme for the area is now underway.

See a video overview of the work that’s been completed here.

BEFORE - Te Pourepo Stage 1 area - Te Tumu Kawa block prior to wetland restoration work (October 2019).

BEFORE - Te Pourepo Stage 1 area - Te Tumu Kawa block prior to wetland restoration work (October 2019).


AFTER
- Te Pourepo Stage 1 area - Te Tumu Kawa block after earthworks completed (March 2020).

AFTER - Te Pourepo Stage 1 area - Te Tumu Kawa block after earthworks completed (March 2020).

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