Our Wetlands

Pounui Lagoon

Pounui Lagoon

The Wetlands Project goal that “Healthy water in Wairarapa Moana nurtures all native plants, animals and their ecosystems” is all about improving the quality of water that reaches the waterways, wetlands and lakes. This in turn contributes to protecting and enhancing biodiversity.

Many of the wetland areas in the Wairarapa have been cleared and drained. If you exclude the open water of Lake Wairarapa only about 4% of the original Wairarapa wetlands remain.

Wetland functions 

Wetlands carry out a number of functions:

  • Reduce flood damage by controlling water levels
  • Buffer waves or currents to prevent erosion
  • Improve water quality by filtering sediment and nutrients
  • Support recreational and cultural activities
  • Provide food, water and shelter for fish, birds and invertebrates

Exploring the wetlands

You need to spend time soaking up the sounds and sights of a wetland to appreciate that they’re not just a muddy wasteland! They have special biodiversity, heritage, cultural and recreational values. Several wetlands around Wairarapa Moana are accessible to the public. As well as the links below, check the Explore Wairarapa Moana Map for their locations.

Wetland biodiversity

The wetlands vary from salty and brackish on the edge of Lake Onoke to fresh water on the shores and adjacent lagoons of Lake Wairarapa. The types of native vegetation present reflect the nature of the type and duration of water inundating these wetlands. Some plants have declined dramatically and some have become locally extinct with drainage, the grazing of stock and competition with weeds. Some wetland plants and animals are described in the section on Our Biodiversity. 

Wetland restoration

Most of these wetlands have ecological restoration projects on the go. Some are being led by community volunteer groups. Others are coordinated by the partner organisations. 


Content on this page was last updated: 15/02/2017 11:49am