New Zealand Ramsar Symposium 2015



Overview and Proceedings



The National Wetland Trust and the DOC Arawai Kākāriki Wetland Restoration Programme teamed up to host a special Ramsar-focused symposium in Hamilton from 17-19 March 2015. You can read the proceedings in this pdf file.



Many wetland professionals and enthusiasts may be aware of World Wetlands Day, and our Ramsar Sites, but less aware about other aspects of the Ramsar Convention.


We brought together;

·         people managing our internationally important wetlands,

·         those interested in the process of nominating Ramsar sites,

·         those who organise World Wetlands Day events or other education and awareness raising events, and

·         those charged with developing national and regional policy for wetlands


Over three days we heard about how our current Ramsar sites are doing, learnt from the experiences of the DOC Arawai Kākāriki programme, discussed ideas for better co-ordination of World Wetlands Day events and looked at how wetland management and policy across New Zealand can benefit from, and help implement, the Ramsar Resolutions developed by the 168 contracting parties.


At concurrent workshiops delegates contributed their knowledge and experience to learn more about specific aspects of the Ramsar Convention, including managing and monitoring Ramsar Sites, processes for nominating new sites, understanding the Ramsar Resolutions, and developing plans for education and awareness raising.


Some presentations from the event are provided for download below.



Download the final programme.


Field Trip

Day 2 of the Symposium was an all day coach tour to visit three of New Zealand's six currently listed Ramsar Sites. Participants learnt from on-ground experiences in managing the Whangamarino Wetland (7000 ha) and Firth of Thames (7800 ha) Ramsar Sites. The tour will also passed by the Kopuatai Peat Dome Ramsar Site (10,000 ha).


Workshops Day 1

1. Nominating Ramsar Sites and updating Ramsar Information Sheets

A key aim of the Ramsar Convention is for each Contracting Party to designate sites of international importance based on a suite of nine criteria. New Zealand currently has 6 Ramsar sites, and a number of addtional sites have been proposed or considered for nomination by community groups or agency partnerships. The Department of Conservation is developing guidelines for nominating Ramsar Sites and can provide advice on creating and updating the mandatory Ramsar Information Sheets. Join this workshop to learn more about the processes involved.

Those attending this workshop were interested in: Ramsar site management, nominating a Ramsar site


2. Communication, Education, Participation, Awareness (CEPA) Activities, including World Wetlands Day

Communication is an important component of implementing the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, being the link from science and ecology to raising people’s awareness and support for the protection, restoration and wise use of wetlands. In this workshop, we will make a start on identifying key needs and opportunities to strengthen capacity for a more strategic approach to communication as well as education, participation and awareness. The World Wetlands Day theme for 2015 of Wetlands for our future provides a focus to generate ideas for what could be the start of the planning process to develop a CEPA Action Plan. Imagination and enthusiasm are key attributes for this workshop.

Those attending this workshop were interested in: Education, Advocacy, Communications


3. Best practice in Wetland Policy

A core pillar of the Ramsar Convention is the wise use of wetlands. The Resource Management Act is a key statute for implementing this, requiring, as a matter of national importance, the preservation of the natural character of rivers, lakes, wetlands and their margins from inappropriate subdivision, use or development. Join this workshop to look at how councils have developed policy to provide for this matter, and discuss best practice for wetland policy development.

Those attending this workshop were interested in: Policy development under the RMA, advocacy, making submissions on national and local government policies and plans


Workshops Day 2

4. Managing flyway sites
There are a range of both government and community based initiatives underway to conserve international flyway sites. New Zealand is part of the East Asian Australasian Flyway (EAAF) Partnership. What are our priority sites for migratory waterbirds? What are the conservation issues? How can we promote awareness about migratory waterbirds in New Zealand and elsewhere in the EAAF? In this workshop you will learn from, and contribute to, experiences in managing wetlands of international importance for migratory waterbirds.
Those attending this workshop were interested in: Migratory birds, trans-boundary wetland issues


5. Monitoring & Reporting on Ramsar Sites

Registering a wetland on the Ramsar List comes with obligations to monitor and report on the state of its ecological character every three years, and update the Ramsar Information Sheet every six years. Guidelines are being developed by the DOC to assist Ramsar Site managers with these. Come to this workshop to learn more about ecological character descriptions and monitoring tools.

Those attending this workshop were interested in: Managing Ramsar Sites, monitoring and reporting on ecological character of wetlands.

6. Understanding and Implementing the Ramsar Resolutions
Every three years the Contracting Parties (those nations and NGOs that signed the Ramsar Convention) meet to agree on a work programme and budgetary arrangements for the next triennium and consider guidance on a range of ongoing and emerging environmental issues. Agreements reached are presented as a series of 'resolutions' - undertakings that the parties agree to implement. Many of these resolutions will be implemented by other parties, for instance through regional or district policies, or by NGOs. At this workshop we will learn more about the Ramsar Resolution process, how people can find out what is being discussed/ resolved at each international Ramsar Convention, and what role they may have to play in helping to implement them.
Those attending this workshop were interested in: Developing or submitting on wetland policies, wetland education and advocacy, Ramsar processes




Awarua Wetland Ramsar Site Update by Sarah Thorne (3.7 mb)


Farewell Spit Ramsar Site Update by David Melville (2.4 mb)


Manawatu Estuary Ramsar Site Update by Alastair Cole (1.5 mb)


Firth of Thames Ramsar Site Update by Hannah Jones (1.4 mb)


Kopuatai Peat Dome Ramsar Site Update by Kevin Carter (1.4 mb)


Whangamarino Wetland Ramsar Site Update by Shay Dean (1 mb)


Arawai Kakariki Project by Jack van Hal (3 mb)


NGO perspective on Ramsar by Amelia Geary


Ramsar Symposium Goals by Karen Denyer (1.2 mb)


Ramsar in New Zealand_Future directions by Maj De Poorter (4.3 mb)


Ramsar in the Pacific by Vai Jungblut (3.4 mb)


Wetland Policy in New Zealand by Shona Myers (4.5 mb)


Restoring Mauri of the Waikato River by Julian Williams (0.1 mb)


Flyway sites for shorebirds in NZ by Bruce McKinlay (0.8 mb)


Rangitata River Pest Control Initiatives by Paul Gasson (4 mb)