New Tahorakuri Wetland project for 2019
An exciting new sustainability initiative is gathering momentum on Wairakei Estate, with the development of the new Tahorakuri Wetland area underway, and to be completed in November 2019.
This 4.7 hectare area is located at the head of the Waiwhakarewaumu Stream, which meanders approximately 9 kilometres, to join the Waikato River. The new Tahorakuri Wetland will connect to the existing picnic and highway rest area on Archilles Farm, on the edge of SH5, between Taupo and Rotorua.
By way of background, we first observed an increase in the wetland footprint in 2012. Last year our groundwater monitoring showed that the groundwater was at a five year high, and this expanding wetland was evidenced by new areas of ponding and boggy zones, which are typical of swamps in the Waikato Region. Ponding and boggy areas in this paddock developed significantly enough, especially over the last 12 to 18 months, for a decision to be taken to retire the land from a farming paddock permanently.
The vision behind the creation of the Tahorakuri Wetland is:
- To show Wairakei Estate’s on-going commitment to leading sustainable land use.
- To create an ecosystem of ponds and a thriving wetland plant/animal/insect community.
- To reduce the potential for erosion.
- To protect the headwaters of the Waiwhakarewaumu Stream.
- To involve people from the local community in the project where they can take part in planting of the site, and in turn foster a genuine sense of ‘ownership’ of the Tahorakuri Wetland, and pride in its development.
Wairakei Estate, in collaboration with local organisations and businesses, intends to plant approx. 5,500 suitable plants in the damp/boggy areas of the wetland with an additional 1,000 exotic trees planted on the higher/drier parts of the retired paddock.
These plantings will include the following native plant species: Grass (Carex Secta), Flax (Phormium Tenax), Hebes’ (parviflora), White Pine (Kahikatea), Toetoe (Astroderia Fulvida), two varieties of Pittosporum, Manuka (Leptospernum Scoparium), Tree Daisy (Oleria Liniata), Cabbage Tree (Cordyline Australis) and Kowhai (Sophora Microphylla).
Cabbage Tree/ti kouka (Cordyline australis)
Kowhai (Sophora Microphylla)
Exotic tree plantings will comprise: an assortment of Trident Maple (Acer Buergerianum) Freemans Maple (Acer ‘Jeffersred’), Golden Elm (Ulmus Glabra Lutescens), Northern Pin Oak (Quercus Ellipsoidallis), Claret Ash (Fraxinus Augustifolia), Banksia tree (Banksia Integrifolia), Willow (Salix Vitalus Pendulata), Larch (Laris Kaempferi), Swamp Cypress (Taxodium Distichum) and Mexican Swamp Cypress (Taxodium Distichum Mexicanum).
Groupings of exotic trees will be planted around the higher ground of the wetland, some deciduous with magnificent autumn colour, some evergreen, and some which attract birds – such as the Kowhai and Banksia trees. ‘Viewing windows’ will be left un-planted at strategic points around the wetland to allow passengers in passing vehicles to see into the wetland.
Golden Elm (Ulmus Glabra Lutescens)
Swamp Cypress (Taxodium Distichum)
Northern Pin Oak (Quercus Ellipsoidallis)
Claret Ash (Fraxinus Augustifolia)
A handsome stone entranceway, similar to other entrances on Wairakei Estate will be constructed, along with signage for Tahorakuri Wetland. Just inside the entrance, there will be a large information board describing the wetland, why it was created and the plants varieties that have been planted.
This board will also acknowledge all the local businesses and organisations who have supported the establishment of the Tahorakuri Wetland with their time or materials.