Kākahi are coming to ZEALANDIA!
Learn about this important ecological engineer
ZEALANDIA is welcoming a new addition to the sanctuary - Kākahi (freshwater mussels) are being introduced to our upper lake for the first time!
While they don’t have feathers and eyes, we are REALLY excited. The two species of kākahi are considered as ‘At Risk – Declining’ by the Department of Conservation—and they have a very important role as an ‘ecosystem engineer’ in our waterways. They can help keep lakes clean and healthy.
The kakahi will be brought to ZEALANDIA from the Parangarahu Lakes and Wairarapa Moana in late July 2018, the first closely studied translocation of these species in recent times.
This is an exciting new step in ZEALANDIA’s restoration, marking the beginning of our wetlands focus as well as iwi partnerships that enable us to incorporate mātauranga Māori into our conservation work.
Kākahi are highly regarded as mahinga kai (or living food store) for many iwi, and they will be collected for translocation by mana whenua; Taranaki Whānui in the Parangarahu Lakes area, and Rangitāne o Wairarapa and Ngati Kahungunu in the Wairarapa Moana area. These iwi will also farewell the kākahi as they leave the lakes, and help us welcome them when they arrive at ZEALANDIA.
Amber McEwan, a dedicated VUW PhD student and Riverscapes Freshwater Ecology scientist will closely study the establishment of the species for the first time in recent history.
This project is made possible by the Holdsworth Charitable Trust, our iwi partners Taranaki Whānui, Ngāti Kahungunu, and Rangitāne o Wairarapa, Riverscapes Freshwater Ecology, the Department of Conservation and Greater Wellington Regional Council. We are proud to be part of this partnership that involves many incredible people and organisations.