Learning about the birds of the Manawatu Estuary

Nina Mercer —  01/09/2015

Working with passionate and knowledgeable people is a highlight of my role and I recently had the privilege of leading a project at the Manawatu Estuary that brought together community, council and DOC expertise.

Three children going for a wander at the Manawatu Estuary.

Going for a wander at the Manawatu Estuary

The Manawatu Estuary is a wetland of international significance under the Ramsar Convention and one of only six such sites in New Zealand. The habitat attracts over 90 different species of birds at various times of the year.

Spotting a heron at the Manawatu Estuary.

Spotting a heron

The aim of my recent project was to create interesting and informative signs about the birds that call the estuary home.

I first met with Joan Leckie, the former Chair of the Manawatu Estuary Trust and a key player in the process of having the wetland recognised under the Ramsar Convention. Joan is an avid ornothologist and the perfect person to advise me on the birds that visit the area.

Reading a new sign at the Manawatu Estuary.

You can help!

With an idea of what we wanted I then approached our DOC graphic designers and editors. Alana McCrossin created the beautiful illustrations for the signs and Robin Wilkinson edited the text, suggesting new ways to add interest to the signs — such as the Fascinating Facts.

The Horowhenua District Council and the Foxton Beach Community Board were also keen participants in the process and assisted in the placement of the signs, with the council covering the costs of installation.

A new sign at the Manawatu Estuary.

New sign

The outcome is a collection of nine new beautiful signs around the Estuary Walkway giving visitors a brief introduction to the birds that visit this special place.

The project was a fantastic opportunity to work with local partners to inform people about the important habitats in our own backyard. Great things happen when we work together!

Visit the Manawatu Estruary and see these amazing new signs for yourself. More information can be found on the DOC website.

Nina Mercer


Nina is a Partnerships Ranger based in Palmerston North who has worked in conservation for more than twenty years. She has a passion for our natural environment and loves exploring the outdoors, especially with her family.

One response to Learning about the birds of the Manawatu Estuary

    Suzanne Ligon 09/09/2015 at 7:15 pm

    Great story! Thanks for sharing it with us.