Arawai Kākāriki is a large-scale wetland restoration programme led by the Department of Conservation.
The main goal is to protect wetlands, and increase our understanding of these productive environments. The better our understanding of these environments, the more we can improve wetland restoration in New Zealand.
Wetland dominated by native species in Ō Tū Wharekai
An important part of the programme is getting the community involved. We are working with partners to improve our knowledge of wetland conservation issues, and building stronger relationships with iwi and regional councils.
Key sites of the programme
There is a focus on three of New Zealand's most significant wetland sites:
See a map of New Zealand showing the location of these sites.
Waituna Lagoon, Awarua-Waituna Wetlands in Southland
We have 10 main objectives to guide our conservation work and help us achieve the best possible outcomes.
Hugh Robertson (DOC) Kerry Bodmin (NIWA) monitoring wetland recovery in Lambies Stream
- Maintain or increase habitat extent
- Enhance water regime and quality
- Protect or restore ecosystem condition.
- Enhance species diversity and protect threatened species
- Work with iwi, hapū, and whānau to embrace Mātauranga Māori
Students doing Spring bird counts for the O Tu Wharekai Wetland restoration project in Canterbury
Work with others
- Maximise partnerships and participation
- Increase awareness and appreciation
- Share scientific and technical knowledge
- Undertake research to improve wetland management
- Develop best practice restoration tools
Read more about what's happening at each site, and Arawai Kākāriki's achievements to date.
Science at our wetlands
To manage our wetlands effectively, we need to understand the ecological processes that keep these areas healthy and resilient. Currently there is limited information of some threats to wetlands and this creates a "knowing–doing" gap.
Science research is helping to fill this gap. By working together, scientists and wetland managers are able to describe sensible goals and guidelines for restoration.
Alongside monitoring, good science also shows what isn't working so we can develop more efficient and effective methods. By maintaining healthy and resilient wetlands we can protect the natural capital in wetlands, and enhance the services they are capable of providing.
Read more about the research and monitoring of the restoration programme.
The three wetland sites are all different in terms of management approaches, land ownership and communities of interest. Building community awareness and involvement in wetland conservation is an important component of the Arawai Kākāriki programme.
At all three sites, the community is involved in some way, and they are informed about what is happening at each site through newsletters, factsheets, meetings, events, displays and media articles.
Volunteers involved in a community planting day for the O Tu Wharekai Wetland restoration project at Lake Heron in Canterbury