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Protecting our precious places

Kapiti Coast - Te Hapua Wetland

Revegetating interdunal swamps with eco-sourced plants

North of Wellington, extensive dune vegetation and swamp forests once covered the rolling dunes of the Kapiti Coast.

Less than 5% of this indigenous vegetation remains. The Te Hapua wetland complex at Te Horo is one of the best examples left of these interconnected swamps.

Nine registered covenants protect over 40ha of harakeke flaxland swamps at Te Hapua. The vegetation was heavily modified by stock in the past and drainage works during subdivision altered the hydrology.

Landowners are now restoring their covenants with the assistance of grants from contestable funds and councils.

Mari Housiaux protected two areas of harakeke flaxland, Carex secta sedgeland and open water with the 2ha Marwen Glen Wetlands covenant in 2005.

She obtained funding from the Biodiversity Advice Fund for John Preece, an ecologist, to advise on biodiversity values and provide management options, and funding from the Biodiversity Condition Fund and Kapiti Coast District Council for three years of restoration work.

‘In 2007, the pines, wattles and poplars were cleared,’ says Mari.

‘Since then we have revegetated the wetland with 4,500 plants. I started growing my own plants in 2007, mostly from eco-sourced seeds from nearby wetlands.

'I’ve built a propagation nursery to handle all the plants and am now proud to have one hundred flourishing nikau palms.

'Greater Wellington Regional Council is also helping with hydrological monitoring and contributing to controlling stoats and weasels.

‘Restoring the wetland is the most wonderful thing I’ve ever done. It’s so rewarding to see the progress and I am hoping this place will ultimately become a seed bank.’

Te Hapua Wetland 2007

2007: The western area of Mari Housiaux’s covenant six months after exotic trees were felled. Clearing the trees, spraying, weed-eating, planting and mulching took over 400 hours of labour.

Te Hapua Wetland 2009

2009: Three years after the tree felling and clearing. The original plantings of swamp flax, toetoe, coastal tree daisy Olearia solandri, mingimingi Coprosma propinqua, kanuka, Carex secta, oioi (jointed wire rush) and marsh ribbonwood Plagianthus divaricatus are forming a canopy and nursery for plantings of later successional species including totara, kahikatea, pukatea, titoki and swamp maire. Karamu Coprosma robusta, taupata Coprosma repens and ngaio provide shelter and shade.

Find out more about Mari’s restoration work (PPT, 1.8MB)

Photos: Mari Housiaux

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