Archives For Southland

Planning on visiting our scenic South Island? This two-week road trip itinerary will help you make the most of your visit to the rugged south, and includes some of the best walks and hikes New Zealand has to offer.

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Looking for the perfect summer adventure? Escape the city and head to the bottom of the world. Here are the top 7 things to do in Western Southland.

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DOC’s Jennifer Ross shares her experience walking the Rakiura Track in a day as part of Orphans Aid International’s “Challenge for Change” Week.

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We loved showing Prince Harry around Ulva Island / Te Wharawhara this week—and he enjoyed the island’s unspoilt rainforest, pristine golden beaches and getting close to some of New Zealand’s rarest birdlife.

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Five enthusiastic volunteers arrived from across the country to give a makeover to a little DOC house nestled at Papatōwai in the Catlins.

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A key to the conservation of our nationally endangered little brown moth is determining its host plant and habitat requirements. Brian Patrick is working towards solving the mystery.

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By Emily Funnell, Technical Advisor – Aquatic and Reporting Unit

Earlier this year we carried out a survey in some of the ponds and bog tarns in Southland’s Waituna catchment.

This work was undertaken as part of DOC’s Arawai Kakariki wetland restoration programme in the Awarua-Waituna Wetlands.

Waituna wetlands sign. Photo: itravelNZ | CC BY 2.0.

Waituna Wetlands

We have always known that giant kōkopu, kōura/freshwater crayfish and other species can be found lurking in in the tarns and ponds, but we have never known how extensive their habitat was.

Freshwater crayfish/kōura.

Freshwater crayfish/kōura

In April we had a peek in a number of ponds all around the catchment, many on public conservation land, but also a few on private land.

Surveying for freshwater fish at Munroe Dam.

Surveying in the Munroe Dam

I would like to be able to say that we found these waterways teeming with fish, but unfortunately only a couple of sites fitted this description.

Giant kōkopu. Photo: Andy Hicks.

Giant kōkopu in the Waituna catchment

Giant kōkopu and other freshwater species were largely absent from most of the catchment ponds, except at the Munroe Dam and in the tarns on the southern side of the lagoon. These two sites had more giant kōkopu than we could shake a stick at, and with a good range of sizes.

Giant kōkopu. Photo: Andy Hicks.

Giant kōkopu

Unfortunately, the ponds and tarns around Carran Creek, and those to the west of Waituna Creek, were all devoid of freshwater fish. This indicates that we may have been overestimating the use of these habitats by fish—with fewer populations than we thought.

Network of bog tarns at Waituna Lagoon.

Network of bog tarns at Waituna Lagoon

So, what is the value of this information? We now know where the secure populations of giant kōkopu are in the catchment, so we can carry out more focussed investigations and management.

Cicada. Photo: Andy Hicks.

Cicada at Waituna

The beauty of these sites is that there are few threats to them in their isolated locations. With little habitat change, we anticipate that these populations will be around for a long time.