Taupo Swamp – An Outstanding Wetland Treasure
QEII National Trust CEO, Mike Jebson says “Taupō Swamp is an outstanding wetland treasure, and we’ve chosen to celebrate World Wetlands Day by planting some swamp flax out at the swamp. We did the planting in an area of the swamp impacted by arson several years ago.”
This important wetland was afforded the full protection provided by the QEII National Trust following its purchase in 1988 with the help of the Wellington Regional, Porirua City Council, Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society and others.
Taupo Swamp was the first major wetland to be protected in the Wellington region and is a biodiversity gem because of the rich diversity of plants, fish, birds, reptiles and insects that can be found there. This wetland also plays a crucial role in regulating water flows reducing, the risks of local flooding, capturing nutrients and sediments from surrounding farmland to improve water quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- 19 native bird species – six of these species are currently on the nationally threatened list, including historic records of bittern which is classified as Threatened-Nationally Critical. Other species found in the swamp, like the New Zealand pied oystercatcher, red-billed gull, marsh crake, and spotless crake are also at risk.
- a highly diverse and complex range of plants – including many natives like flax, wetland sedges and small herbaceous species such as swamp buttercup, ferns, and marsh willowherb. Harakeke, swamp flax once used extensively for fibre, is a feature of this wetland.
- native freshwater fish like the longfin eel, banded and giant kokopu and giant bully. Many of these fish species are also classified as at risk.
- The wetland is also in the top 8% of Wellington sites in terms of biotic integrity, which means Taupo Swamp is a healthy and thriving freshwater wetland swamp, and a treasure for biodiversity and native wildlife right on our doorstep. Taupō Swamp is a rare example of a lowland freshwater, peat forming wetland in the Wellington region.
- Contrary to popular belief this swamp was not formed following the 1855 earthquake but was formed by a series of large earthquakes over a period of 3,000 years which uplifted the seabed of a Porirua Harbour inlet. The 1855 earthquake was the last of these very large earthquakes which formed the swamp.
The Wellington Regional Council is currently considering what status to afford Taupo Swamp in its ‘Proposed Natural Resources Plan’. It is important to ensure the wetland gets the status it deserves. As the owner of this swamp we are proposing that this swamp must be recognised and classified as an ‘Outstanding’ wetland, to help maintain this special environment for future generations. There are not many like it, and certainly none in our region.”