October update: Kaikōura Zone Delivery Manager

Most of Canterbury’s natural kūkūwai/wetlands have been lost, with Kaikōura’s kūkūwai areas significantly reduced due to human impact. This includes farming and urban development.

Kūkūwai are vital to maintaining healthy waterways and are rich in biodiversity values, providing habitat for plants, animals, fish, and insects. They also play an important role in nutrient and sediment filtering, water quality, and flood control.

Wetland work in Kaikōura

photo of Kevin Heays

Kaikōura’s wetland projects are being recognised across the region as works of significance, with some great outcomes predicted for our waterways’ health, land management and mahinga kai values.

Nagari, Mt Fyffe Farm, Mill Road and Greenburn wetlands are all long-term investments, with major credit due to these landowners willing to protect kūkūwai on their property.

These areas all help to reduce nutrient losses, decrease the impact of floods, and provide valuable habitat for native plants and animals.

Protection of biodiversity within kūkūwai is a National Environmental Priority – one of a set of priorities announced in 2007 for the protection of threatened biodiversity on private land.

They are also part of the Government’s National Environmental Standards for Freshwater, which are designed to protect existing inland and coastal wetlands, among other things.

We have been tasked with protecting kūkūwai and making sure local knowledge and culture is integral to that process, including the protection of mahinga kai in Kaikōura.

Kōura/freshwater crayfish, lizards, inanga/whitebait, kūkūwai/wetlands, waterways, and native vegetation are all values of our taiao/environment that we want to be protected for future generations.

When we protect wetlands, we protect these values.

'Wetland’ versus ‘wet land’?

There is no easy way to tell if your land that is wet is considered a wetland. The best way to know is by having an ecologist examine the types of plant and wildlife that call your wet land home.

If you do have a wetland on your property, there may be rules in place around whether a consent is needed to carry out activities that might affect it.

More to come

We can help! If you think you might have a wetland, or just need some advice on what to do with that ‘always boggy paddock’, then give us a call on 03 319 5781

We’ve made some great headway this year, working with landowners and managers throughout the district, but there’s a whole lot more work to be done.

So grab your gummies and join us in leading the way in wetland protection.

Until next time,
Kev.