Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


International recognition for Avon-Heathcote Ihutai Estuary


International recognition for Christchurch’s Avon-Heathcote Ihutai Estuary

The Christchurch home of the bar-tailed godwit/kuaka has joined an exclusive list of wetlands making up the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF) network.

The Department of Conservation has been working with the Avon-Heathcote Estuary/Ihutai Trust for the last two years to have the estuary recognised internationally by the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership says Conservation Minister, Eugenie Sage.

“The estuary has a vital role in supporting migratory waders and shorebirds. Its new status emphasises the need to protect this habitat as a safe haven for bar-tailed godwits, lesser knots/huahou, and other shorebirds such as the endemic South Island pied oystercatcher/torea.

“It’s a fantastic achievement for the Avon-Heathcote Estuary/Ihutai Trust for the estuary to now be internationally recognised as part of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway,” Eugenie Sage said.

The EAAF is the series of wetlands used by migratory waders and shore birds, including in their annual migrations. It includes wetland breeding grounds within the Arctic Circle, through East and South-east Asia, to non-breeding areas in South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. During the birds’ time in Christchurch during our summer they forage in the estuary and put on enough weight to support them on their flight northwards.

Over the last six weeks around 1000 godwits/kuaka have arrived back in the Avon-Heathcote Ihutai estuary after their annual non-stop 11,000-kilometre flight from Alaska.

As a result of habitat loss in the Yellow Sea Region, bar-tailed godwits are declining at an annual rate of 2%. The species is classified as ‘Declining’ in New Zealand.

“With the estuary at Christchurch’s front door and birds easily visible feeding and roosting at a range of sites, it’s easy for residents and visitors to enjoy and understand the estuary’s international significance,” Eugenie Sage said.

Background information:

• A Flyway Site Network (FSN) site is significant to migratory water birds. The site is nominated and accepted by the East Asian Australasian Flyway Partnership. As a designated FSN site there is no legal change in the land status for the Avon-Heathcote Ihutai Estuary.The Avon Heathcote Ihutai Estuary was nominated because it regularly supports greater than 1.8% (up to 2000) of the flyway population of bar-tailed godwits.

• The Ihutai Estuary now joins 136 other wetlands from 20 countries which make up the flyway network. It is the third Flyway Site Network in New Zealand and the second in the South Island.

• Bar-tailed godwits have an extraordinary annual life cycle as they breed in Alaska, spend the non-breeding part of the year in New Zealand and head back to Alaska via the Yellow Sea. They depend on wetlands for food and rest stops.

• The world-wide East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF)was formed in 2006 to emphasise the importance of different wetland areas along the migratory route and to build collaborative conservation activities for migratory water birds.


Map source:

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Spying On Politicians, Activists, Iwi, Quake Victims: "Failings Across Public Service"

A State Services Commission investigation into the use of external security consultants by government agencies has uncovered failings across the public service, including breaches of the code of conduct...

However, the inquiry found no evidence of widespread inappropriate surveillance by external security consultants on behalf of government agencies. More>>


Doesn’t Compromise Sovereignty: NZ To Back UN Migration Compact

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand will support the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration after being satisfied fears about the document are unfounded. More>>


Children's Commissioner: Child Poverty Law "Historic Cause For Celebration"

...It represents a cross-party commitment to a fundamental shift of policy for our most disadvantaged children and should help undo 30 years of damage to children from our most vulnerable families. More>>


Dope News: Binding Cannabis Referendum To Be Held At 2020 Election

The referendum on cannabis for personal use is part of Labour's confidence and supply agreement with the Greens. It could be one of potentially three referenda - decisions have yet to be made about euthanasia and changes to electoral laws. More>>


Vic: Victoria University Name Change Rejected

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has declined Victoria University of Wellington Council’s application for a legal name change. More>>


PM's Post-Cab 17/12/18: Chief Justice, M Bovis

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's final post-cabinet press conference of the year focussed on announcing the appointment of Helen Winkelmann as the next Chief Justice, and an update on effort to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis from New Zealand. More>>


Law Commission Issues Paper: Use Of DNA In Criminal Investigations

In the 22 years since the Act came into force, it has become clear that the modern-day fingerprint analogy is increasingly inapt... Theoretically, whole genome sequencing could ultimately become the standard method of analysing a DNA sample. Such a development will give a new perspective on the concept of genetic surveillance in the criminal context. More>>

State Highways: $1.4 Billion For Road Safety Improvements

The Safe Network Programme will make 870 kilometres of high volume, high-risk State Highways safer by 2021 with improvements like median and side barriers, rumble strips, and shoulder widening. More>>





InfoPages News Channels