The Pines Wetland project progressing well

The Waimakariri Water Zone Committee enjoyed a field trip to The Pines Wetland in the Tūhaitara Coastal Park in North Canterbury recently, where Te Kōhaka o Tūhaitara Trust general manager Greg Byrnes showed the group around the wetland, talking about the work which has been done and projects planned for the future.

The park covers approximately 700 hectares of land along the coastline from the Waimakariri River mouth, north to the settlement of Waikuku Beach. Stretching along the coast for 10.5 kilometres, it comprises many natural features of local, regional and national importance. 

Pines Wetland wet and wonderful

Te Kōhaka o Tūhaitara Trust general manager Greg Byrnes.

Te Kōhaka o Tūhaitara Trust general manager Greg Byrnes.

The Pines Wetland is around 44 hectares of the park and is a current priority for the trust who are planning to carry out weed control in the area, to remove unwanted growth. This will make way for new plants which are set to be installed.

“We’ve had 300ml of rain in the area since Christmas and although this has helped some of our budding plants to grow, it has also meant that the weeds are flourishing too,” Greg said.

Trees That Count has agreed to donate 10-thousand trees, including Ribbonwood and cabbage trees/tī kōuka, to the trust over the next five years. The first two-thousand of these are set to be planted by a contractor in the coming weeks. The trust has brought in a contractor due to COVID-19 restrictions making it difficult to organise volunteer planting days.

Fire decimates invasive pines

Taken immediately after the fire, this photo shows some of the damage caused to the wetland.

Taken immediately after the fire, this photo shows some of the damage caused to the wetland.

In January 2021 a fire broke out in a property adjoining the wetland and subsequently spread to it. This saw the destruction of many trees, including pines, which were in the wetland. Despite these circumstances, Greg is looking at the positives.

“The fire gave us a fresh approach to how we want the wetland to look going forward,” he said.

A fire break is now being planned for a space between the wetland and neighbouring properties to provide added protection should another incident occur. 

“Interestingly, we’ve seen an increase in the number of white-faced heron occupying the wetland since the fire, now that the area’s much more open,” Greg said.

Wetland provides educational opportunities

One small part of the wetland, off Batten Grove, has been replanted by Kaiapoi North School children as part of their Feast for Flight programme.

“It’s been planted with species which will attract birds, like ones with berries and nectar,” Greg said.

Committee keen to support

Greg showing the Waimakariri Water Zone Committee around the wetland.

Greg showing the Waimakariri Water Zone Committee around the wetland.

Waimakariri Water Zone Committee member Carolyne Latham said she thoroughly enjoyed the field trip to the wetland.

“It was awesome to see what has been done and what can be done with a little extra support,” she said.

The water zone committee has recommended the project receive close to $15,000 for the weed control work/mahi this year.

It comes 10 years after the committee first supported the park – that time helping fund work get underway for its Tūtaepatu Lagoon, which is near Woodend.

The committee previously recommended around $200,000 over five-years in Immediate Steps (IMS) Funding for the restoration of the 49 hectare freshwater lagoon. The funding supported weed control and planting of more than 4,000 native plants including Kahikatea, New Zealand’s tallest forest tree. After 2015, the trust received further IMS Funding which supported other projects in the park including Pines Beach wetland.

Visits build connection to local environment

Greg was grateful the committee took the time to visit The Pines Wetland and hopes it sparks further collaboration between the two organisations.

“I hope the committee considers reconnecting with the park. Its previous support was vital to the restoration of the Tūtaepatu Lagoon,” he said.

Greg said the trust was also grateful for the support it received from Environment Canterbury’s Waitaha Action to Impact Fund. It was awarded $5,000 to rehabilitate the park.

“This will help enhance the native biodiversity in this area,” he said.

Meeting regional targets

Each of Canterbury’s water zone committees has an action plan which outlines how they will work with the community to deliver their aspirations for freshwater as outlined in the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS) .

This work supports the Waimakariri Water Zone Committee’s action plan by helping increase indigenous biodiversity in the zone and protecting and enhancing recreation in the zone.

The CWMS puts the future of our water resource in the hands of the community. Zone committees work collaboratively to develop recommendations for councils and other organisations to deliver shared goals and targets.

Meetings are public. Find out when the next Waimakariri Water Zone Committee meeting is here.