Community invited to Ōtūwharekai/Ashburton Lakes pop-up event

Ever wondered how the water quality of the Ōtūwharekai/Ashburton Lakes is monitored? Want to know more about initiatives to improve the health of the lakes' ecosystem for our native species like kākahi/freshwater mussels?

A pop-up event, on Saturday 25 February at Te Puna-a-Taka/Lake Clearwater, will give the community the chance to learn about the initiatives underway to restore the lakes by the organisations and landowners who are part of the Ōtūwharekai Working Group.

Some of the activity is easy to spot, such as the water quality monitoring stations floating in the lakes, and signs to improve visitor behaviour in the area.  But there’s also work happening in more remote parts — like stream surveys, farm assessments, and mahinga kai/traditional resource cultural health assessments.

Chat and learn more

The event, from 11am to 2pm at the lakefront at Mount Darchiac Drive, is an opportunity for people to ask questions and talk to those directly involved in the projects. It’s being jointly hosted by the Ōtūwharekai Working Group and the Ashburton Water Zone Committee, and will include displays, kids’ activities and a sausage sizzle.

There’ll also be information on Ōtūwharekai’s significance to Ngāi Tahu Whānui — not only within their oral history but also being both an important seasonal mahinga kai area and a major travelling route between the settlements on the eastern coast of Te Waipounamu/the South Island and those on Te Tai Poutini/the West Coast.

Activities and information

Central South Island Fish & Game is planning a live fish display to show some of the species that live in the lakes, and our scientists will demonstrate the tools used to measure water clarity and colour. They’ll also share recent data on lake health.

While the adults are chatting, children can get busy with a bug search, an interactive water-run-off model, and the very popular ‘tuna and drains’ game.

Other displays will focus on biodiversity, conservation, aquatic pests, council requirements, visitor behaviour in the area, and a whole lot more!

The overall aim is to share information in a relaxed, family-friendly environment — and with a free sausage sizzle.

For more details, check out the event’s Facebook invitation.

About the Ōtūwharekai Working Group 

The Ōtūwharekai Working Group works collaboratively to halt and reverse the degradation of Ōtūwharekai ecology and values. Its members are Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua, Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri Rūnanga and Te Taumutu Rūnanga, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Environment Canterbury, farmers in the area, Department of Conservation, Toitū Te Whenua LINZ, Ashburton District Council, Central South Island Fish & Game, the Ministry for the Environment and Ministry for Primary Industries.

To find out more visit our Ōtūwharekai homepage.