The Annotated Ramsar List: New Zealand


The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance


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The Convention on Wetlands came into force for New Zealand on 13 December 1976. New Zealand presently has 6 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 55,512 hectares.

National Wetland Policy of New Zealand, 1986 (text)

site; date of designation; region, province, state; surface area; coordinates
site; date de désignation; région, province, état; superficie; coordonnées
sitios; fecha de designación; región, provincia, estado; área; coordenadas

Awarua Wetland. 13/08/76; South Island; ~20,000 ha; 46º34’S 168º32’E. Scientific Reserve. The site consists of a coastal lagoon, peatlands, saltmarsh, gravel beach, ponds, and lakes. These habitats provide important staging areas for waders, as well as breeding, feeding, and molting areas for various other waterbirds. Endemic butterfly species occur, as do two species of endangered fish. The site supports numerous native plant species, some typical of alpine regions. Human activities include sport fishing, bird hunting, and general recreation. Formerly called Waituna Lagoon Ramsar site, boundaries extended in 2008. Ramsar site no. 102. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Farewell Spit.13/08/76; South Island; 11,388 ha; 40º32’S 172º50’E. Nature Reserve; Shorebird Network Site. A 30km long sand spit, and intertidal area, extending at a rate of 15m annually. Exposed to the Tasman Sea on the north and with a dune complex giving way to mudflats on the south. Particularly important as a staging area for shorebirds. Supports several notable plant species as well. Ramsar site no. 103. Most recent RIS information: 1992.

Firth of Thames.29/01/90; North Island; ~7,800 ha; 37º13’S 175º23’E. Coastal Reserve; Shorebird Network Site. A large coastal reserve bounded by peninsula and mountains. Consisting of shallow marine water, mud and grass flats, mangrove swamp, saltmarsh, and swampland. Includes a globally rare land formation of graded shell beach ridges which support grazing. Important site for roosting, wintering and staging wading birds. Ramsar site no. 459. Most recent RIS information: 1990.

Kopuatai Peat Dome.04/12/89; North Island; 10,201 ha; 37º26’S 175º33’E. Stewardship Area, Wildlife Management Reserve. The largest unaltered raised bog in New Zealand, surrounded by mineralized swampland and associated lagoons. Important area for threatened birds and plants and notable invertebrates. A spawning site for threatened fish. Bird hunting is the predominant human use. Ramsar site no. 444. Most recent RIS information: 1992.

Manawatu river mouth and estuary.25/07/05; North Island; ~200 ha; 40°29'S 175°14'E. A moderate-size estuary retaining a high degree of naturalness and diversity, important as a feeding ground for migratory birds - a diverse range of bird species can easily be seen, especially at high tide, including Wrybill Anarhynchus frontalis, Australasian bittern Botarus poiciloptilus, Caspian tern Sterna caspia, Banded Dotterel Charadrius bicinctus, White-fronted Tern Sterna striata, and Shore Plover Thinornis novaeseelandiae. The salt marsh-ribbonwood community is the largest in the ecological district and contains its southernmost and biggest population of fernbirds (Bowdleria punctata). A high diversity of fish are supported, including some that are threatened, and the site has high fisheries values. Archaeological signs of the semi-nomadic Moa hunter culture date from A.D. 1400-1650, and present Iwi groups in the area, chiefly the Rangitane, Muaupoko, and Ngati Raukawa, support Ramsar designation. Main land uses include recreational activities such as sailing, boating, fishing, and seasonal duck shooting. Invasive plants (especially Spartina anglica) and off-road sport vehicles pose potential threats, but measures to address both in cooperation with stakeholders are progressing. Ramsar site no. 1491. Most recent RIS information: 2005.

Whangamarino. 04/12/89; North Island; ~5,923 ha; 37º18’S 175º07’E. Stewardship Area. The second largest peat bog and swamp complex on the North Island. The most important breeding area in New Zealand for Botaurus poiciloptilus. Habitat for wintering birds and a diverse invertebrate fauna, including new, endemic, threatened, and endangered species of plants or fish. Supports a commercial fishery, cattle grazing, recreational activities, and nearby coal mining. Ramsar site no. 443. Most recent RIS information: 1992.

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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