IMG_4199Yesterday, the family and I visited a newly-built bird hide at the wetlands in QEII Park, near Paekakariki (see Paekakariki: perch of the green parrot). This bird hide differs from the traditional duck-shooter’s “maimai”, in that the only shooting it provides for is with a camera. (more…)

It is with both horror and immeasurable sadness that I contemplate the tragic consequences of last Tuesday’s massive earthquake on the city that I lived in for 8 years, and which I still regard with immense affection. I cannot even begin to imagine how life must be like for its residents today, especially those who have friends or family who have perished. (more…)

With its opening in 2006, the 6.5 hectare Waitangi Park, on Wellington’s waterfront [click here to view location], became New Zealand’s largest new urban park in 100 years. Waitangi Park is near the site of the old Waitangi wetland, which was fed by the Waitangi Stream. Rich with eel, fish and shellfish, it was used for centuries by Maori for food gathering, as a source of fresh water, and as a place to launch their canoes (or waka) into the sea. (more…)

In a follow-up to the story on the Waikanae River restoration project, the Kapiti man behind this remarkable transformation from “wasteland” to “wetland”, John Topliff has this month received an award from Forest and Bird for his contribution to conservation in New Zealand. (more…)

This view, facing east along the Waikanae River just east of the Otaihanga Domain, is of a restored wetland – part of a wider regeneration project along this part of the Waikanae River. Viewed from this angle, with the bush-covered Waikanae hills in the background, it is possible to get some sense of how this part of Kapiti would have looked before it was cleared for farms and settlements in the late 19th century. (more…)

Our environmental history is littered with the stories of wetlands that were drained to make way for farmland or settlements. But in the Wellington region, there is a rare example of a substantial wetland that survived this onslaught. It is an example of how – paradoxically – an environment’s utility as a source of a commercial resource can sometimes provide for its preservation.

Over the last 150 years there were a number of attempts to drain the swamp for farming, but these attempts succeeded in only partially draining the swamp. (more…)

This is a view of Swamp Road, with forms an L-shape through farmland just south of Otaki township [click here to view location]. This shot is taken looking east towards the Tararua Ranges. As hinted by the name, this area, which is the floodplain of the Otaki River, was once a mosaic of wetlands, open water, raupo swamp, flax and swamp forest. However, this has been drained and cleared to make way for farmland. The river, just north of here, is now largely confined to a single channel and the ecosystem is dominated by introduced species. On Swamp Road, the name is the only remaining vestige of its original state – the road runs through a patchwork of market gardens and dairy farms. At the very end of the road, on old sand dune terrain, is the Katihiku Marae.

Source/further reading: Greater Wellington Regional Council

Photo: Catherine Knight

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