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Where are our wetlands

Find out about the different wetlands in each district or city council area of the Waikato region by clicking on a name on the map below. The areas are colour coded by the percentage of our region’s wetlands that they contain. 

Map showing extent of wetlands in the Waikato region



District or city areaLocal wetlands
Hamilton City Once had an extensive lake and wetland system. Remnants now include Lake Rotoroa (Hamilton Lake), Lake Rotokaeo (Forest Lake), and Horseshoe Lake. The Waikato River and its tributaries form an extensive gully system which contain small pockets of kahikatea and rare swamp maire forest.
Hauraki District Includes the internationally significant Kopuatai Peat Dome and Firth of Thames wetlands. Also the Torehape Peat Mine, where the mined areas of peatland are being restored to a healthy wetland.
Matamata-Piako District Matamata-Piako shares the Kopuatai Peat Dome with Hauraki District. This is New Zealand’s largest peat dome. It contains many threatened species and provides valuable habitat for native fish and birds. Entry to the dome requires a permit from the Department of Conservation, to protect this fragile ecosystem.
Ōtorohanga District Contains the Waipapa Ecological Area where mountain mires were created after the Taupo eruption flattened the forest and deposited a layer of pumice. Sedges, tangle ferns, sundews and sphagnum moss grow on the peat, with swamp Coprosma and bog pine at the margins. The uncommon sedge Gahnia rigida grows here.
Rotorua District Rotorua is famous for its lakes and geothermal features. Warm, swampy or steamy areas in geothermal fields may contain uncommon ferns like Cyclosorus that are normally found in the tropics.
South Waikato District The Mamaku Plateau has high altitude wetlands among the native forest. These may contain sphagnum moss, rushes, manuka, flax and monoao (Dracophyllum). This district also shares many of the hydro lakes along the Waikato River with Taupō District.
Taupō Home to New Zealand’s largest lake, Lake Taupō. It also has many wetlands at the lake edge, such as the extensive Tongariro River Delta and South Taupo swamp, and large flax wetlands at Waitahanui and Lake Rotoaira.
Thames-Coromandel District The largest wetlands in this district are the estuaries, which are often backed by strips of freshwater wetland. For example, Duck Creek near Tairua Harbour, where fernbirds live in a diverse manuka-sedge wetland.
Waikato District Contains a third of all the freshwater wetlands in the region. It is home to the extensive Whangamarino Wetland, several peat lakes and bogs and many riverine lakes created from the Waikato River’s meander across the Lower Waikato floodplain. It also includes the extensive Waikato River delta, where the river flows through a maze of swampy islands covered in kahikatea, flax, raupo, sedge and willow. Banded rail, bittern, fernbird and many other species live here.
Waipā District Contains peat lakes formed at the end of the last ice age (over 15,000 years ago). The district council and National Wetland Trust are restoring Lake Rotopiko to create a National Wetland Centre. The Moanatuatua Scientific Reserve is one of the few sites in New Zealand where the rare giant cane rush (Sporadanthus) occurs.
Waitomo District Famous for its caves and underground rivers. Has a system of freshwater dune lakes south of Kawhia Harbour which are fringed with raupo, flax and sedges. The lakes are home to dabchick, fernbird, crakes, bitterns, scaup and many species of native fish. There are also a number of kahikatea forests, particularly along the Mangapu River.

Updated August 2017