Site 10: Peat Wetland


Although modified, most of the wetland soils and habitats that once dominated the Christchurch area are still present here. This biodiversity rivals that of iconic Riccarton Bush.

Central Travis

Central Travis

Pause here to see how the wetland mosaic relates to the underlying soils and landforms. The high ground beneath your feet is landfill that buried manuka stands decades ago. The high ground along Mairehau Road on your left, including Tumara Park and Parklands, is old sand dunes. Within their boundary, draw an imaginary line from the patch of crack willows directly opposite you back towards Clarevale Park, beyond the willow woodland. This is permanently saturated peatland up to 2 metres deep. Beyond this line, the shorter grasses and rushes of the grazing marshes occupy thinner peats seasonally saturated mineral soils.

From August to September, look out for Australasian harrier hawks here. You might hear then calling or see their serial courting display. NZ falcons also visit rarely.

Can you find this plant ?

Carex secta

A common sedge of swampy areas throughout New Zealand from sea level to 900 m.

Carex secta takes on a yellow-green colour in open situations with the colour being intensified in the winter.

It grows in still water.

Grows to 1.5 meters high and mature plants will rise up on trunks.

Carex secta

Carex secta

Carex secta

Carex secta

Can you see this bird ?

Paradise Shelduck, Tadorna variegata, Putangitangi

These noisy endemic ducks are well known to anyone who spends any time around wetlands and open pasture in New Zealand.

They are one of the few native ducks that have profited from human modification of the countryside.

Paradise ducks are usually found in pairs and mate for life.

They are one of the few birds where the female has brighter plumage than the male.

Their average life span is around 3 years but the oldest known one was 23 years old !!

Paradise Shellduck

Paradise Shellduck

Juvenile Paradise Shelduck

Juvenile Paradise Shelduck