The Secretariat is very pleased to announce that the Government of New Zealand has designated its sixth Wetland of International Importance, effective 25 July 2005. Manawatu river mouth and estuary (~200 hectares, 40°29'S 175°14'E) is a moderate-size estuary on the southwest coast of North Island which retains 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. The 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.
There are presently 1459 Wetlands of International Importance worldwide, covering a surface area of 125,397,780 hectares.