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The Mangawara oxbow wetlands project was over 5-years and spanned three sites (two along the Mangawara Stream and one on the Waikato river in Huntly). The project sites had been identified in a document prepared by the Waikato Regional Council (WRC) covering biodiversity assets on scheme land.

In 2015, Waikato RiverCare successfully secured funding from the Waikato River Authority, enabling RiverCare to start the project in 2016, to establish native habitat values and buffer zones to protect and enhance water quality.

Across the three project sites, a total of 4.55 hectares of land was retired and hydrology changes were restored to create the wetland habitat for tuna.

Initially, pest plants were removed from the sites and fencing was constructed to stop stock accessing the projects. This reduced pugging and destabilising of the stream banks, damage to trees and cow effluent entering the waterways.

After 2 years of pre-planting work the site was ready to plant In 2017. Unfortunately, there were two summer storms (cyclones) that year which caused the two sites on the Mangawara Stream to flood. Fences and gear were lost and tractors were unable to access the site. Project planting was so wet our contractor had to carry plants to the site.

Additional In-fill planting was completed in 2019, bringing the total number of plants planted across the three sites to 22,365!

Landon McConnell Rd

Landon Oxbow


Land Retired and Restored/Enhanced

1.7 ha

1.1 ha

1.75 ha

Plants Planted




Fencing (metres)



Over the duration of the project, there were three community events as well as RiverCare hosting site visits, e.g. Chinese delegate visit and the judging panel for the Ballance Farm Awards. RiverCare’s most recent event was the planting day held in June, 2021 with Kimihia School and Bizzy Bodz Childcare.

This project showcased the diversity of RiverCare’s restoration skills which include managing riparian planting on both large and small waterways, wetland restoration, tuna enhancement projects and tree stand restoration actions in highly modified environments.

Waikato RiverCare would like to thank the Waikato River Authority and Waikato Regional Council for funding this project and all the wonderful groups we worked with to make this project a success—the landowners, Taupiri Marae and NZTA.


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