Cultural connections and a kayak trail at Kaituna wetland

Katrina Knill —  12/09/2009

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. 

The new Kaituna wetland kayak trail will take in stunning scenery like this

The new Kaituna wetland kayak trail will take in stunning scenery like this

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.

Katrina Knill


I work for DOCs Tauranga Office, where I co-ordinate our public liaison efforts with stakeholders & the general public. I get to work with our staff and community groups as well as helping out in emergencies such as forest fires, whale strandings and dealing with injured birds, seals etc.

6 responses to Cultural connections and a kayak trail at Kaituna wetland

    craig aplin 23/02/2010 at 3:02 pm

    Saw the photos of the new kayak trail. Interested in having a look. How do you get there?


      Access to the kayak trail is from the car park on Pah Road, off State Highway 29 about five minutes east of Te Puke. The trail is located within the Lower Kaituna Wildlife Management Reserve, near Te Puke in the Bay of Plenty.

      The trail includes 4 portages which require users to lift their kayaks out of the water and over a narrow walking track (2-3 metres) before joining adjacent waterways.

      The rest of the trail is at an easy standard, following channels and ponds within the shallow wetlands with no current or any major obstacles.

      A walking track accompanies the kayak trail for most of its length. Directional signage is being placed along the Trail and further information about the wetland itself is available on a series of information signs.

      Water supply to the Kaituna wetland is via a managed floodgate which connects it to the Kaituna River. Kayakers can check current water levels, which fluctuate based on tide and weather conditions, on the EBOP website. A level of over 760mm is recommended for kayaking in the wetland.

      We’ll be getting this info & a map up on the DOC website in the next week or so.

      Happy paddling and don’t forget to check, clean, dry between waterways to stop the spread of aquatic pests.

    Mike Grayburn 05/02/2010 at 7:45 am

    Hi Katrina, Just making contact having seen your name in the local South Waikato News re the Waihou Project. The College and I through Geography have had a connection with Council and local projects for more than 25 years. We have monitored water quality and help design the Te Waihou Walkway. If you are the contact, I would like to offer student help with field work again this year.
    Cheers, Mike Grayburn


      Thanks for making contact Mike.

      I’ll try and get a blog up soon about the Kaimai Catchments project and will pass your comment to Rien van de Weteringh from Environment Waikato and James Piddock from South Waikato District Council whom are more involved specifically with the Te Waihou project.

      In the meantime, you might like to visit the NZ Landcare Trust website for information about the Kaimai Catchments project – Kate Akers at NZ Landcare Trust will be leading co-ordination of community involvment in the project and may also be a useful contact for you, her details are available here.

      Keep up the great work Putaruru College!!!


    Hi everyone, I would like to purchase a trap to catch Ferrets,Weasels,Rats etc, I have an idea we may have one or more of these around our area, I have been on Trademe but dont know what i am looking for, does your department have any preferences to models? and would i able to purchase one locally from the likes of RD1?

    cheers Pat Kane.