Wetlands in Kaikōura


Hapuku Scarp Wetland - one of Canterbury’s best examples of a coastal bush scarp wetland.

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. 

Kaikōura is home to lots of unique wetland species such as ‘swamp astelia’ which is uncommon on New Zealand’s East Coast.

Immediate Steps biodiversity funding enhanced wetland work in Kaikōura and helped landowners work towards protecting and enhancing the plant, animal, invertebrate and fish species that call wetlands 'home'. 

Why are wetlands important?

Wetlands are vital to maintaining healthy waterways and are rich in biodiversity, providing habitat for plants, animals, fish, and insects.

They also play an important role in nutrient and sediment filtering, water quality, and flood control – so it is important that we work together to protect them.

Wetland projects in Kaikōura

We work with landowners, community groups and other organisations to identify, map and fund wetland protection work across the district.

Read more about some of the projects in the areas below, and keep up to date with the latest wetland news in Kaikōura

Ecan News Story Mill Road wetland gets a makeover2

Mill Road wetland

Over one thousand square metres of wetland was fenced off along Lyell Creek/Waikōau at the back of a Mill Road property in Kaikōura, to help keep stock out of the spring-fed stream and increase biodiversity values.

Two additional springs and five overland flow paths feeding into the stream have also been protected with around $14,000 in support from the Kaikōura Water Zone Committee.

There are pukeko, kōura (freshwater crayfish) and tuna (longfin eel) at home in the creek area flowing through the property, with more native plant, animal and fish species expected to move in as the wetland becomes more established.

Mt Fyffe wetland credit Heath Melville

Mt Fyffe Farm wetland

This mānuka-dominant wetland hosts native vegetation like ‘harakeke’ and ‘purei (sedges)’, and ‘swamp astelia’ which is uncommon on New Zealand’s East Coast. It supports native biodiversity, bordering the Ka Whata Tu o Rakihouia Conservation Park, managed by the Department of Conservation.

The wetland was surveyed and mapped in 2020 to capture its true area and ecological value. 

The farm, owned and managed by the Richardson family, received around $18,000 of biodiversity funding in 2020, to fence around 1.9 hectares of wetland. The project is supported by the Kaikōura Water Zone Committee.

Planting and seeding the wetland edges, plus weed and predator control, is helping contribute to creating a booming biodiversity hotspot on the farm. It will also improve the buffer between pasture and wetland and improve the habitat and food sources for native birds.

Image courtesy of Heath Melville.