Rewild opportunity

Inspiring the rewilding of Aotearoa


Peat Soil Te Mana o te Wai Reserves

All Aotearoa peat soil rewilded to restore wetlands, enhance freshwater ecosystems, restore ancient carbon sinks and immediately stop significant greenhouse gas emissions.

These former freshwater taonga will flourish again under integrated public management to enhance Te Mana o te Wai. They are ideal for rewilding by re-wetting to restore wetlands.

Peat soil wetlands and their riparian margins are nationally important as freshwater and native forest ecosystems, and they are used extensively for mahinga kai and cultural harvest.

Many of the species they contain are found nowhere else in the world. Many species are threatened or at risk and will benefit from urgent action under proactive integrated management and rewilding.

Peat soils amount to over 250,000 hectares, an area more than twice the size of Arthurs Pass National Park.

They comprise 723 separate areas throughout Aotearoa, ranging in size from 21,000 hectares down to 3 ha. Some larger peat wetlands such as Awarua/Waituna, Kopuatai and Whangamarino are largely legally protected and recognised as internationally important wetlands under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

A new class of Reserve is needed to recognize the special importance of any publicly managed freshwater taonga restored on peat soils - Te Mana o te Wai Reserve status under the Reserves Act. These new Reserves would form an increased role of ensuring future Te Mana o te Wai wellbeing. An Aotearoa Rewild Landuse Change Fund could be established to fund purchasing land from willing public/private owners, to transition the landuse to a wild state, and to legally protect it for future generations.

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