There are few things we can thank the early NZ acclimatisation societies* for, but Kaituna Wetland is definitely one of them.
Wetlands are a big deal in the Bay of Plenty. Less than 1% of their original extent remains and our largest remnant – the Lower Kaituna Wildlife Management Reserve is fast becoming an even bigger deal.
We co-manage it with Fish & Game & Environment BOP and collectively we’ve been working on improving water flow, controlling weeds, retiring adjacent grazing land and most exciting of all, building a kayak trail.
The DOC team have been doing lots of work at Kaituna over the last couple of weeks; some of our rangers have been weed spraying in preparation for a Conservation Week planting day with Te Puke High School, Intermediate, Te Kura Kaupapa and the local Forest & Bird branch this coming Tuesday.
Other staff have met and done a trial with a local kayaking company in preparation for a family fun day we’re planning on 31 October as part of Live to Play month. We hope to have the kayak trail completed and open for World Wetlands Day on 2 February 2010.
Of course local iwi have known how important wetlands are all along – they used to fish and gather flax at Kaituna long before most of it was drained for farming.
There are six iwi with an interest in the wetland and I’ve been involved in discussions with representatives from a number of them over the last couple of weeks about our plans and ways we can work together at Kaituna.
*The early NZ acclimatisation societies introduced a large number of plants and animals to NZ that are now managed as pests because of their negative imapcts on native species and ecosystems. However the Tauranga Acclimatisation Society was instrumental in saving what’s left of the Kaituna wetland by purchasing some of the land as a reserve for game bird hunting and subsequently gifting it to the Crown, making it available for everyone to enjoy today.