Bioblitz at Muriwai o Whata

Join Environment Canterbury, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Te Taumutu Rūnanga to celebrate biodiversity with a Bioblitz at Muriwai o Whata/Coopers Lagoon, a special place of cultural and natural significance.

This event was held on 18 March 2023.

Find and identify as many species as possible! Join the search for flora and fauna alongside subject matter experts sharing their knowledge.

What will we see? Tuna/eel, kēkēwai/crayfish, pātiki/flounder, kōtuku ngutupapa/spoonbill and matuku/bittern are just some of the unique wildlife known to live in the area.

Held at Muriwai o Whata, nearby the shelter of Te Pā o Moki at Taumutu, embraced within a korowai/cloak of Te Hapū o Ruahikihiki and the descendants of Moki as kaitiaki/guardians of the area. We welcome you to come and explore this cultural and biodiverse rich hapua.

Event details

Discover this unique place for part of or for the whole day. 

When: 18 March 2023, 10.00am - 5.00pm.

Where: On-site at Muriwai o Whata/Coopers Lagoon. On Mcevedys Road, in the Selwyn District, just south of Taumutu.

RSVP essential to
BBQ lunch will be provided and tea and coffee.

What to bring: Sturdy shoes; drink bottle; plan for all weather with appropriate clothing, a raincoat and sunscreen. Bring binoculars or a magnifier if you have one.

iNaturalist: sign up for the project and bring your device.

Please note that the area has uneven terrain and may not be suitable for people with mobility difficulties.

Check out the Bioblitz Facebook event to easily invite your friends and whānau. 

What is a Bioblitz?

A Bioblitz is a communal citizen-science effort to record as many species within a designated location and time period as possible.

They are a great way to connect to our environment while generating useful data for science and conservation.

Activities on the day will include walk and talk sessions, as well as presentations with subject matter experts and mana whenua; surveys of plants, birds, fish and invertebrates.

We will be using iNaturalist, an easy-to-use app where observations with signs of organisms at a particular time and location can be recorded. Every observation can contribute to biodiversity science globally through the iNaturalist app.

Protecting this special area

To Ngāi Tahu, and in particular Ngāi Te Ruahikihiki ki Taumutu, Muriwai (as it is most commonly known) has special value as a mahinga kai location and is an important source of mana.

Why are wetlands important? Wetlands are the wet margins of streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, estuaries, bogs, swamps and lagoons. They provide a habitat for wildlife and support plants and animals that have adapted to living in wet conditions. They are crucial to our environment and form a boundary between land and water, filtering out sediment and nutrients.

Mahi is already underway to assess the area for planting (to understand which plants and methods would be most suitable) and to look at potential fish passage barriers.

The Bioblitz will provide a snapshot of the environment to help us to protect and enhance this important area.

Originally published 6 December 2022.