Taiao

Environmental

Tāngonge Wetlands

Tāngonge wetlands comprise 700 acres of Māori owned land plus approximately 800 acres of Crown land that has been returned to Te Rarawa and Ngāi Takoto. Once a prolific economic resource to Māori communities, Tāngonge has been heavily modified, damaged and diminished, due to drainage and farm development. It is a crucial storm-water storage facility to protect Kaitaia against flood events on the Awanui River, and is also the location of the town’s sewage treatment/disposal system.

The restoration project is part of an Iwi-driven strategic, long-term plan for Tāngonge, based on research around hydrology, flora/fauna, restoration, maintenance and land use. Key among these is the goal of revitalising kaitiaki practices that will reinstate and regenerate ecosystems and make Tāngonge central to our lives and culture once more.

While Tāngonge is a highly modified space, expert advice has confirmed that weed/pest invasion is low, conservation values are high and multiple options for improvement exist. Presently the project is working to fence areas of the lakebed to stop random grazing, to protect and encourage regeneration, and to plant approximately 31,000 native wetland plants. The project is based on whānau and community participation, and the involvement of groups and organisations that can add value to the vision for Tāngonge.

This practical project marks the start of our long-term restoration plan, allowing us to build our experience in order to tackle future challenges, while achieving visible medium-term gains. The goals align and converge with the broad aim of DOC to restore and enhance ecosystems, promote biodiversity and stimulate community involvement in conservation.