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Home > Our region and environment > Coast > Kaituna Maketu and Pongakawa Waitahanui catchments > Whakapoukorero Te Arawa wetland restoration project

Whakapoukorero Te Arawa wetland restoration project


Whakapoukorero wetland aerial view

November 2017 update

Another 1,500 native wetland plants have been added to the Whakapoukorero Te Arawa Wetland over winter. Weed control within the previously planted areas, site preparation for further plantings, and mulching of pampas to improve future access around the wetland has also been completed.

Two new culverts have been installed and fitted with fish friendly weirs at either end of the wetland, to increase overall water levels especially over the summer months and enable fish to move through the wetland.

Further improvements to fish passage, water levels, and pond connectivity are planned for this summer with the construction of a set of small weirs and rock-lined spillways. 

About the project

Te Arawa Lakes Trust (the landowners) is working to restore the 22 hectare Whakapoukorero wetland, in partnership with the Regional and District councils and community volunteers (Maketu Project Team).


Whakapoukorero Wetland is one of the last remaining areas of the historic Kawa Swamp which once covered a 6,500 hectare area near Maketu.


Before the wetland was drained for farming, it provided food, trade and building materials to Te Arawa tupuna. It was a place that taonga like tuna (eels) and matuku (Australasian bittern) could thrive in. It provided a filter that trapped sediment and nutrients as rainwater ran off the land and into the Maketu/Ongatoro Estuary.


The wetland has become degraded over time but remains home to rare wildlife including two threatened fern species and many native wetland birds.

By improving water flows and removing weeds, like pampas, the mauri (life force) and natural function of the wetland can start to be restored. It will help to bring cleaner water and more wildlife to the Maketū rohe.

Read the April 2016 media release about the start of this project.


Past progress reports:

March 2017 update

Restoration plantings are establishing well in the Whakapoukorero wetland. Lots of interesting native wetland plants are also returning to the area, including the rare native musk (Thyridia repens) which is classified as an “at risk” threatened plant.

The Maketū Ongatoro Wetland Society is tackling weeds at the back of the wetland this month including willow, pampas and arum lily. Weeds in the front area of the wetland where pampas was removed last year are also being hand-pulled and sprayed.

Good progress is being made on design work for water control structures. The structures are expected to be in place by 30 June this year; they’ll help to maintain water levels in the wetland during dry periods. 

September 2016

Three hectares of pampas has been removed and new open water areas have been created.

Community Corrections (PD) crews have planted about 1,500 plants and will plant a further 2,500 during October.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council staff are now assessing water levels and flows to inform our next steps that will aim to improve summer water levels and habitat for inanga and other whitebait species.