Coastal Restoration Trust of New Zealand

Coastal Dune Ecosystem Reference Database

Report on debris flood recovery and rehabilitation of Matata Wildlife Refuge Reserve (Te Awa O Te Atua Lagoon) Technical Report

Owen, K.; Smith, I.; Cashmore, P.; Crump, S.; Christensen, B.; Staite, C.
Journal / Source
Technical Report Series
Publisher / Organisation
Department of Conservation
Approximately 300 mm of rain fell in the vicinity of Matata during the 24hrs from 1800 hrs on the 17th May 2005 until 1800 hrs on the 18th May 2005. This deluge and associated conditions created a debris flood that had a huge effect on the Matata Wildlife Refuge Reserve. Debris, siltation, infilling and subsequent lowering of the lagoon’s water levels, especially the western lagoon and to a far lesser extent the eastern lagoon and compromised the ecosystem and its associated natural processes. The DOC reporting group considered five options for the sustainable restoration and long term management of the Reserve. These ranged from managing what was there directly post-flood, to re-establishing a similar situation that which existed prior to May 2005 flood. An inter-agency partnership, supported by the community, resulted in one restoration option being chosen. Although looking very different to the pre-flood lagoon landscape, the restoration programme for the western lagoon and surrounds within the Reserve has now been completed. The western lagoon provides suitable habitats for a range of native and introduced species but is lacking some habitat elements. To improve this attractiveness, the following key recommendations were made: • Provide sufficient all year round water flow in and out of the two large dense raupo reed lands areas (c3.6 ha and c3 ha respectively). • Any restoration areas require a high level of initial maintenance around plantings along with further planting as well as ongoing pest plant control. • Provide improved access for freshwater fish from the Tarawera River into the Reserve at the eastern end. This report is an updated record of the original DOC unpublished interim 2005 report of the debris flood effects on the biological values of the Reserve. It describes a number of options for its restoration. It has been reformatted and updated with 2010 postscript and photos.