Posted By QEII National Trust | February 11, 2021

Our regional representatives Jesse Bythell and Mark Sutton teamed up to host an event in Southland in January with covenant owners, Ron and Gay Munro, at their wetland covenant Mānuka Mire. The couple have a long history of working with QEII, with Gay being a former QEII regional representative. The Mānuka Mire covenant was approved in the days before Gay Munro became a QEII rep, and the property was one of the early covenants for Southland.  

The event was held 
on the last Sunday in January, which was well timed to celebrate World Wetlands Dayobserved annually on 2 FebruaryAttendees from all over the region got together sefirst-hand the hard work that Ron and Gay have put into their wetland covenant. Almost all the attendees had their own QEII covenants, with several fellow ‘wetlanders’ with covenanted wetlands.  

Ron and Gay shared stories about the early days when they first purchased and protected the property in the 1970sThey also talked about how they went about restoring the water levels to enhance the wetland ecosystem. In some parts of the covenant, they made innovative use of moats in place of fences – not only a great practical solution as they are easy to maintain, but they also helped ‘re-wet’ the wetland.  

Approximately one third of the property is protected and has been enhanced over time to create a wetland that has attracted many species of birds, insects and fish including the giant kōkopu and longfin eels. The Mānuka Mire wetland also contains a diverse range of plant communities such as wirerushmānuka shrubland regenerating into mixed podocarp broadleaf forest and rushlandflax land and open water. Ron and Gay are passionate about wetlands, in 2000 they also bought another 90 hectare wetland nearby, which they also protected with a covenant.  

The Southland sunshine meant that it was a great day for exploring Mānuka Mire and attendees were able to view the wetland from above using the viewing platform, built by Ron. Thanks to our regional reps Jesse and Mark for working with Ron and Gay to create a wonderful opportunity for covenantors to come together to learn about and celebrate wetlands. 
Photo credits: Neil Cullen