Wetlands are defined as “permanently or intermittently wet areas, shallow water, and land water margins that support a natural ecosystem of plants and animals that are adapted to wet conditions” (RMA). It is estimated that only 2.3% of the original wetland extent remains in the Wellington region (Ausseil et al. 2003).

The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 requires that “there is no further loss of extent of natural inland wetlands, their values are protected, and their restoration is promoted.” Greater Wellington’s (GW) Natural Resources Plan (NRP) contains policies and rules and methods intended to achieve this protection and improve the health of the regions remaining wetlands.

GW also has a Key Native Ecosystem (KNE) programme which aims to improve ecological outcomes at selected high value ecological sites, which includes 47 of the region’s wetlands.

The aim of the State of the Environment Wetland Health Monitoring Programme is to monitor the state and trend of wetlands in the region to determine the effectiveness of GW policies and interventions through the KNE programme and other wetland management programmes.

Monitoring objectives

The work described here aims to monitor:

  1. the state and trend of wetland health in the Wellington region,
  2. the effectiveness of the Natural Resources Plan (NRP) policies, rules and methods, and
  3. the outcomes of management at selected wetland sites.

Monitoring network

The 150 wetlands included in the programme are a selection of the 211 wetlands scheduled in the proposed Natural Resources Plan. It includes all 14 wetlands that are designated “Outstanding”, 47 “Significant” wetlands which are managed by the KNE programme and a random selection of the remaining “Significant” wetlands spread across the five whaitua catchment (main river catchments).

A different whaitua catchment is surveyed during summer each year, with some wetlands resampled to assess change, and new wetlands added to increase coverage. Hover over wetland sites (coloured circles) on the map below to see which years they were sampled. Drag and scroll on the map to move and zoom to areas of interest and use the top right toggles to switch between showing ‘All sites’ monitored or ‘KNE only’ sites managed by the KNE programme.

This web report may be cited as: GW 2023. Wetland health monitoring data report 2016/23. Greater Wellington.

A static PDF version of this report can be viewed and downloaded here.