Otematata Station - Demonstration Wetland

Otematata Station - Demonstration Wetland

Pip & Joe Cameron - Otematata Station
Otamatakau Wetland
Otematata, Waitaki

Connecting the Community

Located on the eastern edge of the Otematata township, beside the Otematata River, this swampy wetland covers an area of approximately 2.7ha. Willow invasion is the number one threat to the health and vitality of the site and was the main topic of discussion amongst those who attended the September demonstration site field day.

The station has been in the Cameron family since 1891. They are a high country sheep and beef farm, that runs merinos and herefords. Pip Cameron first heard about the project in the NZ Merino newsletter and their wetland was selected as a demonstration site because of its roadside visibility and the fact that there are multiple landowners including DOC and LINZ.

As a teacher Pip Cameron is very accustomed to learning and knowledge sharing which will stand her in good stead as she steps boldly into wetland management planning. Top of her list is how to create a manageable task – rather than an onerous one.

Removing willows and managing pest vegetation is the first task at hand. There is already an understorey of common indigenous wetland sedges and carex secta plus some open areas of raupō (bulrush) which will thrive once the dense willow has gone. Many of the nearby wetlands of the Waitaki Valley are dominated by raupō.
As with many of our wetland sites, there is a balancing act that needs to be considered. Because the wetland is right beside a state highway and a bridge structure a certain number of willows will be left in place to avoid erosion. Yes, even willows have their benefits.

Otematata Station - Demonstration Wetland

Broom is another weed that requires management, so we were fortunate to have Department of Conservation ranger Peter Willemse on-hand to demonstrate how the gall mites weaken broom plants and reduce the spread of this introduced invasive weed.
Being able to identify a wetland area and measure change were two other key factors for Pip when she signed up to the Managing Wetlands and Farm Assets project. Photo points have been setup and will be repeated yearly for the first five years to capture the transformation.

Now that she can more confidently identify what is a weed vs a native plant species, the challenges Pip sees around managing their wetland are ‘the usuals’, time and man-power. Applying for funding can be another time-consuming task but this is something the project coordinators are assisting with.

An Otamatakau Wetland contact group has been established and NZ Landcare Trust will be working with the Cameron’s to develop interesting activities for the group. Knowledge sharing means everyone can be a part of the wetland protection and restoration journey.

We 100% support Pip and Joe's vision of working with nature at the Otamatakau wetland site to create a living connection between the township and Otematata Station - and a beautiful spot for all to enjoy.