Maketū Ōngātoro Wetland Society

Maketū Ōngātoro Wetland Society

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Maketū Ōngātoro Wetland Society

Location of main site: Maketu Spit, Bay of Plenty.

Date started: October 2008

Purpose of group: Establishment of a Ramsar Site in the Lower Kaituna, Maketu & Little Waihi harbours, and the ecological restoration of the adjacent coast.

About the group: We are a small community group, and while our primary long term focus is on wetland restoration, we are currently involved in the ecological restoration of Maketu Spit - a 3.5km long sand spit protecting Maketu Harbour.

We have a Biodiversity Management Plan for the spit which is in its third year and which will be extended next year. One of the main focuses of this is the protection of a colony of New Zealand dotterel which nest at the distal end of the spit, so we are involved in animal, as well as plant pest, control.

We are currenty conducting a reptile survey, and our recently completed invertebrate survey found five species that are new to science, or as yet undescribed. This is likely an indication of how little work has been done on the fauna of New Zealand dune systems, which for all we know may play a vital role in maintaining the health of the dunes.

We have recently instigated the bypassing of an artifical causeway that connected Papahikahawai Island to the spit and impounded a significant body of water, this was also done to enable us to better control rabbits and hedgehogs.

We have also started to remove pampas and wattle from the banks of the Kaituna River, as part of a gradual expansion of our programme, and have also started dotterel protection and monitoring at Pukehina, on the other side of Okurei Point.

In 2011 we won two awards, the Coastal Restoration Trust award for Best Coastal Restoration Project, and the TrustPower western bay of Plenty Community Award.