About the area
Waituna Lagoon is 40km east of Invercargill and is part of the 20,000 hectare Awarua Waituna Wetland catchment. This coastal lagoon and surrounding wetland (an area of 3,500 hectares) was designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance in 1976. The cultural significance to the local Ngāi Tahu people was recognised under a Statutory Acknowledgement with the Ngāi Tahu claims Settlement Act 1998. The lagoon and wetland have also been a source of food and recreation for the wider community including fishermen, hunters and trampers over many generations.
The wetlands provide habitats for a rich array of native wildlife and are a nationally important site for migrating wading birds. They are also home to a range of threatened species such as the Australasian bittern and are an important area for mahinga kai.
In Awarua Waituna there has been a significant loss of wetland, freshwater ecosystems and lowland habitat. Water quality is poor due to high levels of suspended sediment and nutrients (phosphorous and nitrogen). Much of this has been caused by various productive land uses in the catchment and the modification of the waterway, wetland and lagoon hydrology for drainage purposes.
Living Water’s key focus is designing and implementing a catchment-wide nutrient and sediment management approach, with the main goal of slowing the flow of water to decrease contaminants and build freshwater habitat.
- 70% converted from wetland and native bush to agricultural land over the past 150 years
- 80+ different species of bird in the wetland complex
- 130 properties in the catchment
- 5 main types of farming (arable, forestry, sheep, beef and dairy)
- 2000+ 'angler days' per year
50% nutrient reduction
20% increase in wetlands on farm
100% Fonterra farmers engaged
100% landowners engaged
Reza and Sylvia Abdul-Jabbar
Monnc and Ruth Bruinsma
Raewyn and Tony Van Gool
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Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu
Te Runanga o Awarua
A multi-phase ecological restoration, wetland reconnection and water management project
Are nutrient filters a practical solution for farmers to reduce their impact on water quality?
Helping landowners to better understand where to put contaminant management interventions to improve water quality leaving farms.
Can nitrogen fertiliser use be reduced without compromising pasture growth?
Reconnecting fragmented wetlands through riparian planting