There are only around 3 percent of wetlands remaining in the Wellington Region.

Wetlands form a critical interface between land and water. No matter what shape or size they are crucial for the health of our environment and ecosystems, are of significant cultural importance for Māori, and provide important habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals. They provide a range of important ‘ecosystem services’ – for example, they help to protect water quality and retain water in the landscape, critical for maintaining base flows in our waterways in times of drought.

With so few of these unique habitats remaining it is important that we take care with the activities we carry out in wetland areas and that we work together to protect and, where possible, restore our wetlands.

Wetlands can be adversely affected by activities taking place within or adjacent to them. For this reason, there are a range of national and regional policies, regulations and rules that provide direction and restrictions on what can and can’t be done within and around a wetland.

Planting appropriate species and pest control are able to be carried out as a permitted activity (no consent required). However, activities such as those that disturb wetland vegetation or substrate or that change wetland hydrology need to be managed carefully as, in some cases, they risk changing wetland ecology or flooding neighbouring properties.

If you have a wetland on your property, or think you might have, we want to work with you. Having a wetland can affect what you can do on your property, and we are here to help you to understand what this means.

We also have resources and funding available to help you with identification and restoration.

Natural wetland management in our region

There are several national and regional level regulatory documents that govern the activities that can and can’t be done within and around a natural wetland in our Region.

National Regulations

The regulations that govern wetland management in New Zealand are set out in the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater 2020, and the Stock Exclusion Regulations 2020.

Greater Wellington is responsible for implementation, monitoring and compliance of resource management in the Wellington Region. For more information about the national regulations in New Zealand, head to our Essential Freshwater page.

Regional Rules

The Natural Resources Plan for the Wellington Region (NRP) sets out objectives, policies and rules that govern activities in and, in some cases, adjacent to wetlands in our region. 


To develop more localised resource management approaches, we have established committees of locals, iwi, local authority and Greater Wellington representatives. Each committee has, or is in the process of developing a Whaitua implementation Programme (WIP) with their communities.

WIPs aim to improve freshwater ecosystems in our region in a way that incorporates mana whenua and community values and interests in freshwater. The WIPs will be incorporated into our NRP. Find out more about Whaitua.

Updated June 1, 2023 at 10:09 AM

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