Date: 02 February 2018
The work is an excellent example of community collaboration between the DOC and Project Tongariro and is supported by the local community, iwi and a variety of other agencies.
Te Matapuna wetland is situated between Oruatua and Waihi along the southern shores of Lake Taupo. This special area contains birds such as the nationally endangered Australasian bittern and other rare birds including spotless crake, marsh crake and banded rail. The wetland is also home to several threatened plants including the critically endangered stalked adders fern, and the nationally endangered yellow bladderwort and swamp buttercup.
Restoration work not only aims to improve native biodiversity but also to provide an educational opportunity and raise the profile of wetland restoration throughout New Zealand.
Practical work has focused on the removal of crack willow and grey willow from the Waimarino Recreation Reserve, the Oruatua Conservation Area and the Waiotaka recreation and scenic reserves. These invasive trees can spread rapidly and if left unchecked could completely choke the area, destroying its capacity to support native wetland species. A large proportion of the willow control on conservation land has already been carried out using a combination of aerial spraying and ground-based techniques.
In addition to willow control, over 4000 native plants have been planted at sites around Waimarino, Waiotaka, Rongomai, and Oruatua, where dedicated volunteers have contributed more than 800 hours of their time. Department of Corrections offenders regularly help prepare areas for planting as well as carrying out a considerable amount of planting work. Students from Tongariro High School Academy and Hirangi Kura also help with planting at several Waiotaka sites.
Funding for this work comes from a variety of sources, including the DOC Community Fund and the Waikato Catchment Ecological Enhancement Trust. The project could not succeed without support from the local community.
If you would like to get involved in wetland restoration work, simply come along to one of the community events organised by Project Tongariro – details can be found online.