Rakatu Wetlands complex
Image: Anja Kohler | DOC

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


Rakatu Wetlands, located on the floodplain of the Waiau River, will be the site for Fiordland's 2018 World's Wetland Day celebration on 27 January.

Date:  15 January 2018

The Waiau Fisheries and Wildlife Habitat Enhancement Trust (Waiau Trust) and DOC have teamed up to provide the public with an opportunity to explore the area and learn about the importance of wetland environments.

DOC's Principal Biodiversity Ranger Lindsay Wilson says that with only around 10 percent of New Zealand's wetlands still intact due to draining and reclaiming land, there is a dire need to look after those remaining.

"Wetlands, even the small ones, provide valuable habitat for our native birds, fish and eel species. They provide a natural buffering against floods and improve water quality by filtering out impurities – just as our kidneys do for our own bodies."

The Waiau Trust has been operating in the Waiau River catchment since 1997, protecting and restoring waterways to increase both water quality and habitat for our water dependent species.

"At the Rakatu site, the Waiau Trust's most ambitious undertaking, we have created over 50 ha of open water wetland habitat, in addition to protecting the existing vegetated oxbow habitat," explains the Waiau Trust's Field Ranger Mark Sutton.

"The project has been highly successful with many species recolonising the restored wetland area. We are looking forward to the opportunity to share our knowledge about wetlands and the Rakatu project on the day."

The event is for all ages, so make a family day of it and head to the Rakatu Wetlands on the Blackmount-Clifden Highway to meet for a guided nature walk at 11 am, followed by a BBQ lunch. From 1:30 pm you are invited to help with enhancing the environment by joining in with some tree planting. Increasing the native plantings in the area will help provide more valuable habitat for wetland animals.

Celebrated a little earlier in Fiordland, World Wetlands Day is held every year on 2 February to acknowledge the adoption of the 1971 convention of wetlands and to increase public awareness.

For more information check out DOC's events page.

To register your attendance contact:


For media enquiries contact:

Email: media@doc.govt.nz

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