Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


Two remote lakes south of Kawhia Harbour are to benefit from restoration work following successful funding applications to DOC’s Community Fund.

Date:  21 December 2017

Lakes Piopio and Rototapu are part of the larger Tahaaroa lakes wetland that have been impacted by water quality pollution over a long period and are now subject to a comprehensive restoration plan being led by local iwi through the Tahaaroa Lakes Trust, with support from DOC and Waikato Regional Council.

Initial works will include conventional fencing of lakes Piopio and Rototapu, followed by planting of nearly 5000 trees of mixed native species within the riparian margins of the lakes.

Operations Director for DOC's Hauraki-Waikato-Taranaki Region, David Speirs says the two lakes are part of a complex of seven shallow freshwater dune lakes centred around Tahaaroa, the largest. Together they make up the only significant coastal freshwater wetland between Kaipara Harbour to the north and the South Taranaki bight.

"Prior to the commencement of iron sand mining operations in 1972, Tahaaroa was a small, isolated community with no road access. Since then developments of various kinds have gradually impacted negatively on native biodiversity and freshwater ecosystems, reaching the point where local iwi recognise the need to intervene with restoration work."

Work planned over the next 12 months will see the two lakes fenced to prevent stock access and restoration planting to restore biodiversity values and reduce invasive weeds, both of which will contribute to enhanced ecological values.

David Speirs says the Trust's initial strategy is to implement improvements over the next three years, to which DOC has this year contributed $50,000.

"The Trust recognises these small beginnings need to continue over a long period to achieve their aims and objectives for restoring this wetland which forms an important part of the local 'food basket'.

"What they aim to achieve also sits very neatly into DOC's long-term objectives of helping local people connect with nature, restoring freshwater systems from mountain to sea and facilitating the ability of whanau, hapu and iwi to undertake their responsibilities as kaitiaki of natural and cultural resources."

The restoration project is also receiving funding and other partnership support from Waikato District Council, NIWA and local businesses.


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