The Wairarapa Moana Wetlands project

The Wairarapa Moana Wetlands Project began in 2008 to enhance the native ecology, recreation and cultural opportunities on the public land in the area. The project partners are Greater Wellington, Department of  Conservation, Rangitane o Wairarapa, Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, local hapu and South Wairarapa District Council. They in turn are working with community groups, farmers and environmental and recreational groups to restore our wetland treasure. Everyone recognises you can’t succeed in a project this size without all interested parties being involved. 

The project got a major shot in the arm with a successful bid for funding from the Government’s Fresh Start for Freshwater Clean Up Fund to improve the water quality of the edge wetlands. The Ministry for the Environment will contribute $1 million over the next three years. This funding will be matched by the following funding partners in cash or in kind – Ducks Unlimited, Dairy NZ, Department of Conservation and Greater Wellington Regional Council. The priority for the fresh start project is to enhance the wetland habitat around the edge of Lake Wairarapa and Lake Onoke

Groundtruth have been working with the Wairarapa Moana group from the early stages of the fresh start project, Our current focus is working with landowners around the Wairarapa Moana area. Working with farmers to complete walk over farm assessments. Learning from existing farm management approaches, identifying opportunities to improve nutrient management and enhance biodiversity values on individual properties. The aim is to restore the quality of freshwater ecosystems associated with the edge wetlands. This has to be a collaborative approach with agencies and others working on the wetland reserve areas and adjacent farmers ensuring the best possible water quality enters the wetlands, and that their land contributes to wider habitat values. Collaborative learning is a very important part of the project and Groundtruth are assisting with tech transfer programmes around this project. So we all better understand how to manage this complex and modified ecosystem – and can work together to maintain and enhance its values.