Gratiola concinna
Image: Joe Carson | DOC


A tiny and rare native wetland plant has been returned to Rotokare Sanctuary in Taranaki, in the culmination of years of partnership and planning.

Date:  11 July 2024

Gratiola concinna is a nationally endangered plant species. This rare wetland plant is particularly small and has declined due to loss of suitable habitat and pressure from introduced weeds.

It was first found on the edge of Egmont National Park in 1995, on the private property of the Hooper family at Oeo in South Taranaki. It has been actively managed since it was found at the site.

Fiona Gordon, Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust’s Conservation Manager, says the return of the plant to the sanctuary is a significant achievement for the species, creating a second population of a species few people know about.

The plant translocation represents a “welcoming home” of the species, Fiona says.

“Through this project, we’re returning the plant to the only other known location it has been found in Taranaki, the Ngaere swamp complex, within the rohe of Ngāti Tupaia, of which Rotokare is the largest remaining remnant,” she says.

The Trust’s representatives are delighted to be able to support the protection and management of this rare species, building on the fantastic work already being done by both DOC and the Hooper family.

DOC Biodiversity Ranger Joe Carson says the ongoing support of the Hooper family has been a key factor in management of the species.

“The Hoopers’ involvement with the land and the plant spans multiple generations, and their guardianship of the bush on their property has been crucial to the persistence of Gratiola concinna locally.”  

“Their support has included selective grazing to maintain water levels and assisting with monitoring and weed control.”

“Ngāti Tupaia, mana whenua of the area where Rotokare is located, are happy that Rotokare can again play a huge role in protecting another threatened species,” says Ngāti Tupaia spokesperson Tane Houston.

“Ngāti Tupaia are proud of the team at the reserve and will continue to support these efforts to do right by the natural environment and all the important life forms within.”

The Gratiola concinna population on the Hoopers’ property is the only one known Taranaki population and translocation to Rotokare Scenic Reserve ensures regional persistence of this species.

Background information

Gratiola concinna is a creeping herb with rounded leaves. In comparison to the general size of the plant, it has a relatively large white flower, emerging in November.

The main threats to the plant are habitat loss through land drainage and competition from introduced weeds.

They are traditionally found in muddy hollows in forest clearings, streamsides or in turf at the margins of lakes, rivers or ponds; sometimes aquatic at edge of shallow lakes or rivers.

Rotokare Scenic Reserve is a 230 ha forested hill-country catchment, with extensive wetlands and a 17.8 ha lake. It is surrounded by a 8.2 km pest-proof fence. 

Rotokare has the largest wetland and lake within a pest-proof fence in New Zealand, offering unique opportunity to care for some of our vulnerable wetland species


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