Hāpua, lagoons and estuaries are examples of coastal aquatic environments where the mix of coastal, surface water and groundwater systems produces an often dynamic environment from freshwater through to brackish and saline conditions.
These areas provide an important habitat for a diverse array of native plant and animal species including mahinga kai species such as tuangi (cockles), pipi which is endemic to New Zealand, harakeke (flax), and tuna (eel).
They also provide important nursery and spawning grounds for marine and freshwater fish species such as īnanga (whitebait), tuna (eel), pātiki (flounder) and margin habitats for the kowaro (Canterbury mudfish). Examples in Canterbury include hāpua river mouth lagoons such as the Rakaia and Ashburton river mouths, Waituna type lagoons or coastal lakes such as Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere and Wainono Lagoon, tidal estuaries such as the Avon-Heathcote/Ihutai or freshwater river mouths such as the Clarence River.
Te Waihora is one of New Zealand’s most important wetlands and is internationally significant for its abundance and diversity of wildlife.
Te Waihora is a tribal taonga, central to Ngāi Tahu culture, and is valued for its recreation and cultural worth, and unique ecological value.
There are many active organisations and agencies involved in work to protect, restore and enhance the lake.
Whakaora Te Waihora is a joint programme of work between Environment Canterbury, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, and the Ministry for the Environment to restore Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere.
The Te Waihora Joint Management Plan — Mahere Tukutahi o Te Waihora — is a joint land management plan between the Crown and Iwi for integrated management of the Selwyn Waihora catchment.
Read the Hāpua, lagoons and estuaries target report.