In the “Pingao (or Pikao) the Golden Sand Sedge

The work of the Pikao Recovery Group today is based on the needs and interests of communities and groups who want to see this native plant re-established on the Otago coast. The Legislative basis for pikao recovery is found in the Conservation Act, the Resource Management Act, and the Treaty of Waitangi, which states the following:

"6. Cultural, historical, spiritual, amenity, and intrinsic values are the heritage of future generations and damage to these values is often irreversible."

"11. It is important to protect representative or significant natural ecosystems and sites of biological importance, and to maintain the diversity of New Zealand’s indigenous coastal flora and fauna."

Because of its cultural significance, Pikao is a good plant to assist in facilitating relations between the crown and iwi in order to give effect to the Treaty of Waitangi which states that the Department of Consevation must

" 4. give effect to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi"

Pikao's conservation status is classified within category M using the Species Priority Ranking System1; Species that are rare and localised and of cultural importance to Maori. Pikao is not however regarded as a threatened species, and therefore does not have priority for funding. This is because in some areas of New Zealand, particularly in the North Island, there are still significant stands of pikao.

A great number of beaches with high rankings in the National Sand-dune and Beach Vegetation Inventory of New Zealand have remnant populations of pikao on them, some of which are considered of national importance (for instance the Catlins).


  1. Molloy, J. and Davies, A. (1994).Setting priorities for the conservation of New Zealand threatened plants and animals. Department of Conservation, Wellington.
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