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Kai Iwi Lakes and the Dune Lake Galaxias

Kai Iwi Lakes and the Dune Lake Galaxias

A special working group has been formed to protect the Dune Lakes Galaxias (DLG) (a threatened native fish found only in Northland’s Kai Iwi Lakes).

Kaipara District Council has been working with the Northland Regional Council, the Department of Conservation, Northland Fish and Game Council, members of Te Kuihi and Te Roroa under the title of the Kai Iwi Lakes Dune Lake Galaxias Working Group. The purpose of the group is to investigate ways to help protect and nurture this threatened native fish species in the Kai Iwi Lakes, and what conservation work can be done to protect the ecosystem for future generations.

To ensure the survival of this species it is necessary to better understand its ecology and its interactions with other species. The working group has had approval to commission a study to explore the ecology of the DLG, its interactions with other species and its environment; an action listed in the Kai Iwi Lakes (Taharoa Domain) Reserve Management Plan 2016.

It is hoped that this study will advise management actions which will help conserve this species. The study design will draw on the recommendations of a recent literature review by NIWA and will also be informed by the principles of mātauranga1 māori (including Whakapapa2 , Whanau3 and Whanaungatanga4 ). Kai Iwi Lakes background

Kaipara district has a number of dune lakes associated with the length of its western coastline. These form part of a wider sequence that runs from Aupouri to Pouto Peninsula. The Kai Iwi Lakes are part of this lake system and are arguably amongst the best known dune lakes in New Zealand.

Like most dune lakes, the Kai Iwi Lakes waterbodies have little or no continuous surface inflows or outlets, being primarily fed directly by rainfall or by groundwater from the surrounding catchment. As a result, water levels fluctuate to reflect climatic patterns.

Collectively the Lakes support a spectrum of endangered endemic species, providing one of only a few remaining known habitats or strongholds for a range of biota. Perhaps the most outstanding feature of the lakes is a currently limited impact of invasive species on the Lakes’ biota. They are highly complex and sensitive ecosystems that need collective assessment and monitoring programmes to take into consideration human activity and the interactions between the Lakes physical environment and the biological communities that live within them. Conservation matters are central to a continued healthy, outstanding natural feature and for the benefit and enjoyment of those who interact with the Lakes.


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