Why does New Zealand need wetlands?
Wetlands can be just about anything that involves water. That means harbours and estuaries, lakes and swamps, springs, volcanic crater lakes, flax wetlands, swap forests, water supply reservoirs and even water treatment ponds all count as wetlands.
With so many wetland areas in and around Auckland, the city is a very special place in New Zealand.
So what makes them so important for both Auckland, and the country as a whole? And why do conservationists fight so hard to do everything they can to preserve and protect our wetlands?
The simple fact of the matter is that wetlands support a huge part of our ecosystem.
Many of our bird species live and thrive in wetlands, including the grey duck, banded rail, marsh crake, NZ dabchick, Australasian bittern, and spotless crake. Naturally, there are also plenty of fish species living in these waters, such as the black mudfish, kokopu and inganga – all of which are native to New Zealand.
In Auckland alone, there is an estimated 3,700 hectares of freshwater wetlands and 14,000 hectares of estuarine wetland. Amongst these areas, we have about a third of all New Zealand’s nationally threatened plants.
Lake Wainamu is just one of these wonderful wetland areas in Auckland, and is extra special because it’s a 14 hectare dune lake. Here you’ll find fernbirds, bittern, eels, kokopu and much more in the way of wildlife, which is why we love introducing visitors to the spot on our Waitakere Ranges tours. It’s the ideal place for walks, but activities such as boating, fishing and camping are not allowed in order to best protect the area.
Tawharanui – our other major tour area – is another Auckland wetland area with both coastal wetlands and freshwater inland. It features a saline wetland and lagoon and has re-introduced species such as the brown teal (the pateke), which we nearly always see during tours!
Tristan Cullen - Passionate Conservationist