Canterbury's wetlands are a haven for migratory bird and fish life, making an important contribution to New Zealand’s ecological diversity with species like the Canterbury mudfish and the kakī/black stilt found no where else in the country.
The braided rivers of Canterbury are a special feature of the region and account for 60% of the braided river habitat of New Zealand. Their wide shingle beds, numerous snaking water channels and highly variable flows, provide habitat for several of New Zealand's endangered wildlife species.
Wairepo Kettleholes Conservation Area
This conservation area covers approximately 400 hectares in the Mackenzie Basin. When dry the kettleholes reveal a rich plant-life of very small herbs, which form a dense turf. When wet they are an important feeding area for a host of wading and wetland birds.
Ō Tū Wharekai - Ashburon lakes/upper Rangitata River
Ō Tū Wharekai is one of the best examples of an inter-montane wetland system remaining in New Zealand, and is nationally important for wildlife. It is one of the three sites that make up the national Arawai Kakariki wetland restoration programme.
See Ō Tū Wharekai
Otipua Wetland can be seen beside SH1 just south of Timaru. It surrounds Saltwater Creek and was once a 60-70 hectare historic entrapped lagoon.
The Otipua Wetland Charitable Trust was formed in 1997 and the local community have created a significant wetland habitat for birds and lizards.
With the continued development of indigenous forest and swamp vegetation there is potential for indigenous fish and invertebrates to be reintroduced back into the habitat.
Ōtukaikino is a small wetland of 13 hectares that is located at the end of the northern motorway on the outskirts of Christchurch.
Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere wetlands
Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is the most important wetland habitat of its type in New Zealand, providing essential habitats for a large range of bird, plant and invertebrate species.
The Travis Wetland Nature Heritage Park is a special place to view wildlife, with over 50 species of birds, indigenous skinks, native shortfin eels/tuna and the Canterbury mudfish/kowaro. It is managed by the Christchurch City Council
See Travis Wetland