Our Wetlands project

2019 - D.O.C update

We were due to have another whānau planting day on our 2E5 wetlands (which we do at least twice annually) but on 16th of October this year we were advised by the Department of Conservation (DOC) that they were wanting to update the Trusts on the changing situation regarding access to our land. 

In previous years, the DOC has successfully applied for an annual access permit to drive alongside the rail corridor to reach both the Koputaroa Scientific Reserve and our Manawatu Kukutauaki No3. Sec 2E5 (Te Ripo o Hinemata) land, so that we can carry out management (pest trapping, weed control, plantings) at the sites. The permit that DOC got for us expired in September this year.

 When DOC applied for our 2019/20 permit, they learnt that KiwiRail have tightened up their Health & Safety requirements across the country.  Further to that they have decided that, although Kiwirail would issue a permit for DOC at a cost to access both blocks via the corridor, the Department would need to pay Kiwirail for a Kiwirail protector to be with us.  That is for all land owners, whānau and DOC staff working with us on these wetlands management and planting activities, and the Kiwirail protector would need to be with us at all times, as we access the site, and every time we use the rail corridor to and from both sites.  We were advised by DOC that this, effectively, meant it would be prohibitively expensive for us to access via the rail corridor.


As a result DOC indicated to us that they are withdrawing their work from Te Ripo O Hinemata as we cannot access the site currently.  This was really disappointing news for us, as we have had an awesome relationship with DOC for well over 20 years.  They have supported our weltands with restoration with technical advice, funding for wetlands restoration action plan, on-the-ground support during plantings, liaison with Horowhenua District Council and our neighbours to create a covenant for our adjoining lands, weed and pest management, and plants for plantings.

 We had arranged to have a planting (which usually happens at the AGMs) and DOC has around 800 plants available that were planned to be planted at Te Ripo o Hinemata in early summer 2019.  They have asked us if the Trusts wish to plant them out at Te Ripo o Hinemata.  However, we can’t access the lands via the rail corridor because without the Kiwirail permit and protector.  We will need to discuss this further at the AGM, and possibly look to work another access plan for our wetlands.

 In the meantime, the stoat traps in Te Ripo o Hinemata were being checked monthly by a volunteer until 30 August 2019 (after which time DOC no longer had access).  

DOC is sending through the mustelid trap catch data so we can see it, when considering our future plans.  Currently DOC doesn’t have no access to undertake work in the Koputaroa Scientific Reserve, so their work has ceased in there until they, too, can work out alternative access to the site. 

Johnny McGregor