An example of the importance of wetlands and the challenges involved in their restoration and enhancement will be on public show to mark World Wetlands Day on Sunday (3 February).
Te Wawa Wetland, just north of Oakura, will be the venue for a field day allowing visitors to inspect the area first-hand and to hear about its value and the work that still needs to be done.
The 4.8 ha wetland, on properties leased from PKW Incorporation by John Washer and Neil Maulder, is the habitat of a number of threatened and endangered bird and reptile species, including the Australasian bittern, the spotless crake and the gold-striped gecko. Its vegetation includes raupo reed and flax, as well as a small coastal forest remnant containing kawakawa, mahoe, karamu and lancewood. It is also close to a pa site.
A major priority at the wetland is management of pest plants and further investigation of native animal life, particularly fish and aquatic invertebrates. This work forms part of a Conservation and Biodiversity Plan for the property, drawn up by the Taranaki Regional Council in consultation with the owners and leaseholders.
Te Wawa Wetland is listed as a Regionally Significant Wetland and a Key Native Ecosystem by the Council.
As well as a tour of the wetland, Sunday’s field day will include addresses by the Taranaki Regional Council Chairman, David MacLeod, who is also on the board of PKW, and representatives of Forest and Bird, QEII National Trust, Taranaki Tree Trust and the Department of Conservation.
The field day starts at 10am. The property is on Koru Road, off SH45 north of Oakura, and will be signposted from the highway. Bring good walking shoes, hat and sunblock, and water or juice.