Walking tour showcases wetland values

  • Otago
  • 24/01/2024

Walking tour showcases wetland values

All aspects of human wellbeing are tied to the health of the world’s wetlands.

That is the underlying message of a World Wetlands Day walking tour being held south of Dunedin by Otago Fish & Game on Friday, February 2.

The public tour will be held at the restored Takitakitoa Wetland, on Takitakitoa Rd in the lower Taieri area, at 6pm.

Pictured: Work continues at the restored Takitakitao Wetland, such as a planting day last year with Te Nukuroa O Matamata members (from left) Will Dawson, Teige Sherwood-O’Regan, Rory Luxton, Karen Mayhew, Zac Shepherd and Robyn Ashton with Otago Fish & Game officer Steve Dixon. Photo: Bruce Quirey, Otago Fish & Game

Otago Fish & Game officer Bruce Quirey said World Wetlands Day this year would highlight how interconnected wetlands and human life are.

“People draw sustenance, inspiration and resilience from these productive ecosystems,” Mr Quirey said.

The Takitakitoa Wetland Walking Tour would give members of the public an opportunity to learn about the one of the most successful wetland restoration projects in the South Island and explore fauna and flora which have recolonised the area.

“Often wetlands are overlooked but these are some of the most diverse habitats you can get,” Mr Quirey said. “Wetlands serve vital functions for our environment and human wellbeing. They retain flood water and act like kidneys to catch nutrients. They provide wild kai.

“Spending time at wetlands is a great way to rewild ourselves, reconnecting with nature.”

Takitakitoa Wetland is linked to the Taieri River and was once part of the Waihola and Waipori wetlands network, which is estimated to be one third its original size.

An almost continuous succession of draining projects to develop farmland last century considerably reduced its size.

“About 30 hectares of the Takitakitoa valley was reflooded by Fish & Game in 2016 using funds from the Game Bird Habitat Trust.”

Maimais at the wetland are used by junior and novice hunters during the three-month duck hunting season. For the rest of year, the wildlife, including protected native species, is left undisturbed to thrive and prosper.

About 8000 native plants have been planted at the wetland since restoration began.

“Takitakitoa is an example of hunter-led conservation,” Mr Quirey said.

“Restoration work continues there every year, funded by Fish & Game licence-holder fees and through donations of native plants.”

Takitakitoa Wetland is bordered by a City Forest Products operational forest.

Next Friday’s walking tour will include brief talks from Fish & Game and an opportunity to plant native plants.

The walk will cover about 2km, including uneven ground. Participants will require a moderate level of fitness.



Takitakitoa Wetland Walking Tour

When: 6pm Friday, February 2, 2024

Where: Takitakitoa Wetland, about 40 minutes south of Dunedin. Travel south on Henley Rd, left onto Christies Gully Rd, right onto Otokia-Kuri Bush Rd, then right onto Takitakitoa Rd.

What: Walk to lookout, then to turn-around for short talks. Help plant native plants.

Bring: Friends and whanua, walking shoes, weather-proof clothing, drink bottle, insect repellent, nibbles and binoculars.

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