Know your wai - fresh water stream with fast flowing water


Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au

I am the river, the river is me

Discover what's below the surface...

The ngahere/forests of Aotearoa New Zealand are unique to our little corner of the world and Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne is a great place to see some of the rarest threatened and endangered species up close, but did you know that our fresh water ecosystems are just as special and unique?

Discover what's below the surface of the freshwater streams, wetlands and lakes at Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne: 
Learn about the plants and animals that live in our waterways, find out what we're doing to restore these ecosystems, and how you can learn more about the freshwater ecosystems near you.



Read more about freshwater ecosystems, what we're doing to restore the ecosystems at Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne, and how you can take action for your local awa. 

Toitoi translocation: The common fish with a unique role

We're welcoming a new ika/fish species, the toitoi/common bully (Gobiomorphus cotidianus) to Zealandia to Roto Māhanga their new home. Toitoi are a common species across Aotearoa New Zealand but have been completely lost to this landscape.


Hidden depths of Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne lakes

The Kaiwharawhara whaitua/catchment runs through Te Whanganui-a-Tara, with its headwaters beginning at Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne and ending at an open estuary into the harbour. Thirteen species of native fish call the waters of the Kaiwharawhara home. Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne being the headwaters means that the water quality in our lakes and waterways impact the water and species living throughout the rest of the whaitua.


The Kidneys of Te Māra a Tāne

Kūkūwai/wetlands are either permanently or intermittently wet areas and an important taonga/treasure of Aotearoa. In the last 150 years, over 90% of Aotearoa’s kūkūwai have been lost. Much of this loss happened from the drainage of kūkūwai so that the areas could be used for agriculture. The kūkūwai at Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne is manmade, as the valley’s history of dams and reservoirs created the opportunity for it to be formed.


Mussel Mania: The Kākahi Translocation

While much attention is often paid to our feathery friends, the humble kākahi are quietly transforming the freshwater ecosystem around them, improving water quality by filter feeding— they are able to filter one litre of water per hour! During April 2022 the team at Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne translocated kākahi/freshwater mussels into Roto Māhanga/the upper reservoir.



Freshwater fun for the kids, community events, Conservation Kōrero seminars and more.
You'll find it all here.

Help reverse the loss of freshwater species

Help support out freshwater restoration projects by making a donation to our appeal.


Freshwater Wildlife

Learn about the wildlife that rely on the freshwater ecosystems at Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne 

Kāruhiruhi / Pied shag

The most abundant kawau/shag species at Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne. Look for these striking black and white birds with the colourful eyes!


Harakeke / NZ common flax

One of New Zealand’s most distinctive native plants, harakeke is not, botanically, a flax, but a member of the day-lily family. The name flax comes from the fact that the long fibres extracted from the leaves are used in much the same way as those in linen flax.