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Locals Show Love For Kaituna Wetland

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

More than 200 people showed love for Kaituna wetland last Sunday 14th February at a family fun day which celebrated World Wetlands Day with the official opening of a new kayak trail and unveiling of the 2010 Game Bird Habitat stamp.

Western Bay of Plenty Mayor Ross Patterson and Rotorua MP Todd McClay joined local iwi and staff from Department of Conservation (DOC), Environment Bay of Plenty (EBOP) and Fish & Game NZ in welcoming the public and explaining the value and importance of wetland protection and recreation.

Following a karakia and formal speeches, local children from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Te Matai; Te Kura Biel and Te Ngakauiti Biel took the first paddle strokes and cut a ribbon to open the trail.

"It was great to see so many families from Tauranga, Whakatane and Rotorua enjoying and learning about the wetland" said DOC Ranger and event organiser, Peter Huggins. "We're especially grateful for the assistance we received from local iwi, neighbours, Maketu Surf Lifesaving Club, Waimarino Kayaks and long time volunteer and wetland advocate - Ray Bushell. A lot of people pitched in to make the day a success".

The Lower Kaituna Wildlife Management Reserve is jointly managed by DOC, Fish & Game and EBOP and provides walkers, hunters, bird-watchers, and now kayakers with opportunities for fun and free outdoor recreation. It is also home to the rare Australasian bittern, as well as shy wetland birds such as the fernbird and marsh crake.

Peter says those who missed the family fun day can enjoy the wetland anytime; " the reserve can be accessed from Pah Road, near Te Puke and can be enjoyed at any time of the year, although users are advised to take extra care during game bird hunting season in May and June." Kayakers are encourage to check, clean and dry their equipment before and after visiting the reserve, in order to prevent the spread of aquatic pests such as salvinia and didymo.

Water supply to the Kaituna wetland is via a managed floodgate which connects it to the Kaituna River. Kayakers can check current water levels, which fluctuate based on tide and weather conditions, at A level of over 760mm is recommended for kayaking in the wetland.

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