The Ararira/LII River is a significant spring-fed tributary of Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere, New Zealand’s fifth largest lake and a very important wetland ecosystem.

  • Te Waihora has special significance to Ngāi Tahu as a tribal taonga, representing a major mahinga kai and an important source of mana. 
  • Less than one per cent of the original vegetation remains on the Canterbury Plains, principally in small fragments. Previously, extensive wetlands were drained and the drainage networks are now the predominant lowland waterways. 
  • The Ararira/LII catchment’s extensive network of highly modified waterways and remnant wetlands still provides habitat for native fish, bird and plant species. 
  • Unique features of this catchment include headwater springs, an extensive network of drains and waterways, and two wetland areas – Yarrs Flat and Yarrs Lagoon/Ta-rere-kau-tuku.