Manawatū Estuary Trust

The Manawatū Estuary Trust Inc. is a community conservation group dedicated to looking after the Manawatū River Estuary. Much of the Trust's work involves educating the community on the importance of the area, introducing people to its interesting features (including birdwatching trips), and advising the organisations in control of the area as to management.

The Manawatū Estuary lies at the mouth of the Manawatū River on the west coast of the lower North Island, beside the settlement of Foxton Beach. The estuary is a very important habitat for native wildlife and also provides opportunities for recreation, so it's important the area is looked after. The official organisations in charge of the estuary are Horizons Regional Council (Manawatū), Horowhenua District Council, and the Department of Conservation.

98% of the Manawatū's wetlands have already been lost, but wetlands are a very important ecosystem. They purify water, buffer against flooding and other weather extremes, and providing food sources for both humans and other creatures. Estuaries are the most productive ecosystems in the world.

The Manawatū Estuary was designated a Wetland of International Importance in July 2005, one of six wetland areas in New Zealand to have gained RAMSAR status. The Trust played a role in gaining this recognition.

The area designated as a RAMSAR site is about 200 hectares in size, situated at 40°29'S 175°14'E. It is an estuary of moderate size, though the largest in the lower North Island. It includes regions of sand dunes, mudflats, and salt marshes.

Regular meeting: 7pm first Tuesday of the month at Holben Pavilion, Foxton Beach.

Regular working bee: Most Sunday mornings, a small team meets in the dune wetland area 1km west of the end of Pinewood Rd., Foxton Beach, to observe the nascent dune wetland growing, and keep out the exotic species. There are some two dozen native species in the 'dune garden', some of them on the Department of Conservation's threatened species list. Email to find out the plan for the week, or just turn up and look for the fluoro orange sunhat.

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PO Box 11, Foxton Beach

Phone: 06 368 1277

Website: Visit now