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Community effort to restore the shores of Lake Wairarapa   

More than 1200 karaihe were planted in the shallows at Featherston’s Lake Domain Reserve on April 21 by local rōpū [group] Pae Tū Mōkai o Tauria – supported by community members, mana whenua and Greater Wellington Regional Council [GWRC].

Karaihe, a grass-like sedge endemic to Wairarapa Moana, has an “at risk to declining” conservation status.

GWRC biodiversity advisor Sarah-Jane Jensen said the planting day was a highlight of community-driven restoration happening in and around Wairarapa Moana.

“It was hard work in the misty rain,” Jensen said. “We worked with pickaxes and shovels to get through the top rocky layer of the lakebed, but there were plenty of smiles, kōrero, and kai.”

Jensen said the karaihe were planted together in “close whānau clusters”, where they will spread out and hopefully self-seed in much greater numbers.

“Karaihe sedges create an inviting habitat for native fish to spawn, as well as places to hide from the wading birds that feed on them.”

Karen Mikaera from Pae Tū Mōkai o Tauria said the rōpū was delighted with the support the planting day received.

“He Kōtare Native Nursery managers and volunteers spent hundreds of hours collecting, germinating and growing the plants from seed. And it was so rewarding to have more than 50 people helping as we returned the plants to the foreshore,” Mikaera said.

“Our people are deeply committed to te Mana o te Wai and restoring the health of the moana. We welcome every opportunity to work alongside Greater Wellington and others who share this kaupapa.”

Pae Tū Mōkai o Tauria’s He Kōtare Native Nursery has become a major plant provider for the Wairarapa Moana Wetlands Project, a collaboration between mana whenua, regional and district councils, and the Department of Conservation to restore the health of Wairarapa Moana.

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