Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
License needed for work use Register

Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

ReWilding The North For World Wetlands Day - Wetland A Paradise For Wildlife

The completion of the second stage of an ambitious project to rewild a once grazed Northland valley into a lush wetland has been celebrated with an event to mark World Wetlands Day.

The Underwood Wetland project near Dargaville commenced seven years ago in 2017 with an opening ceremony attended by then Associate Minister for Conservation, Nicky Wagner. The project has been a partnership led by Fish & Game New Zealand, and protects an area of precious native forest, wetland and river flats.

The 342-hectare area includes remnant kauri, hardwood forest and wetland, and river flats containing scatterings of kahikatea.

Sited along the northern and eastern frontages of the Manganui and Northern Wairoa rivers, it is home to threatened species, including the kauri snail, the North Island fernbird, marsh crakes and Australasian bittern. The creation of wetlands adjacent to these river margins is expected to create important habitat for spawning inanga (whitebait) and threatened eel populations.

The land was purchased from local farmers David and Gloria Underwood by a $600,000 grant from the Nature Heritage Fund with $55,000 from the Northland Fish & Game Council for survey costs in 2016. 300ha of the native forest was then classified as scenic reserve to be administered by the Department of Conservation. The remaining 40ha of grassed valley floor and surrounds was vested to Northland Fish & Game Council as Local Purpose Reserve for the development of a wetland.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

Access work to create public tracks and to allow machinery into the property began in 2016. A series of ponds starting from the head of the valley were created as Stage 1 of the project. This was followed by a second stage in 2022, which saw a 210-metre-long and 4-metre-high bund wall created to block the valley floor and flood it, creating over 5ha of open water and vegetated shallows. It now features almost 10ha of pools and ponds with the remaining area being remnant native forest, native plantings, grassland and newly created access tracks.

The development work for the wetland has primarily been funded by $122,000 from the Northland Fish & Game Council and the Game Bird Habitat Trust, who gave $137,900 to fund the project. This totals $259,900 of money derived from the sale of hunting licences going directly back into the creation of wildlife habitat. Costs for access to the property were shared with the Department of Conservation, and grants for plantings have also been received from Kaipara Moana Remediation and the One Billion Trees Programme for native plantings. Planting work has been completed by Fish & Game staff as well as a significant volunteer effort from hunters and other supporters of the project.

Fish & Game New Zealand Chief Executive Corina Jordan attended the event on Friday 2 February.

"There has been an ongoing pattern of net loss of wetlands in New Zealand. Overall New Zealand lost 5,761 hectares of freshwater wetlands between 1996 and 2018. It makes projects like this vitally important. Fish & Game’s journey has always been about protecting, restoring and rewilding Aotearoa New Zealand’s natural freshwater habitats and wildlife species.

"Fish & Game has been at the forefront of protecting New Zealand’s freshwater for the past three decades with a dedicated spend of almost $3 million per annum covering engagement in national and regional policy processes and work on the ground to protect and restore wildlife habitats. Approximately $2.4 million has been invested from the sale of game licences and habitat stamp products for projects like the Underwood Wetland to protect, restore and create wetlands, mainly on private rural land, in partnerships between hunters and landowners."

Former Northland Fish & Game Manager Rudi Hoetjes championed the project over the years.

"This couldn’t have happened without the Underwoods. They recognised how special the place was, that it was largely undeveloped, and they saw the potential to return it to its original forest and wetland. The majority of the Kaipara District is highly modified, so remnants like this are incredibly rare and valuable. The Underwoods sustainable management of the property meant that regeneration was underway before the reserve was created."

New Zealanders can apply for funding through the Game Bird Habitat Stamp Programme for the protection and enhancement of game birds or other wildlife habitat. From every game bird hunting licence sold, $5 goes to the New Zealand Game Bird Habitat Trust. For example, in the 2022/23 hunting season, hunters contributed $157,808 from game licences sold to be distributed by the trust as habitat grants. Since its inception in 1993, the trust has provided $2.4 million in grants to nearly 300 projects with some 2,000 hectares of habitat either created, enhanced or re-instated.

Buy a habitat stamp with your game licence or purchase it from NZ Post and help fund habitat enhancement. To apply for these funds, see the Fish & Game Council website https://fishandgame.org.nz/environment/nz-game-bird-habitat-trust/ for an application form and further details. Applications for Habitat Funds close on 30 June.

About Fish & Game New Zealand

Fish & Game manages trout, salmon, and game birds to provide healthy recreation for Kiwis.

We work to protect the environment that anglers and hunters have enjoyed as a tradition for over 150 years.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On National Spreading Panic About The Economy


It is a political strategy as old as time. Scare the public with tales of disaster and stampede them into supporting your ideological agenda because they believe There Is No Alternative. Yet, if the NZ economy truly is as “fragile” as PM Christopher Luxon says it is... Then how come New Zealand has enjoyed a double AA+ credit rating from the international rating agencies for so long? If we have truly been in the thrall of incompetent tax, spend and borrow extremists for the past six years, how come our net government debt burden is only in the middling average of OECD countries, and how come our government debt-to-GDP ratio – however you measure it – is less than half the average for the Asia-Pacific region?..
More


 
 


Labour: Grant Robertson To Retire From Parliament
Labour List MP and former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Grant Robertson will retire from Parliament next month, and later in the year take up the position of Vice Chancellor of the University of Otago... More

Government: Budget Will Be Delivered On 30 May

Plans to deliver tax relief to hard-working New Zealanders, rebuild business confidence, and restore the Crown’s finances to order will be unveiled on 30 May, says Nicola Willis... More

Government: Humanitarian Support For Gaza & West Bank

Winston Peters has announced NZ is providing a further $5M to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling," he said... More


Government: New High Court Judge Appointed

Judith Collins has announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English Literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996... More

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels


 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.