What We Do
Wetlands are of great cultural and spiritual significance to Maori. They provided Maori with food – wildfowl, tuna (eels) and other freshwater fish. They were also places to grow taro and harvest harakeke (flax) and other materials for medicinal, food, building and crafts.
Despite their great natural wealth, wetlands are still largely a forgotten habitat with their importance under-rated. Over 90 percent of New Zealand’s wetlands have been drained or filled. The National Wetland Trust (NWT) is working to reverse this trend, and to increase knowledge, appreciation and understanding of the value of wetlands.
They improve water quality and reduce flood risks, provide biodiversity and play an important role in managing climate change. Healthy peat bogs, one form of wetland, are year-round sinks of carbon, locking up to five tons per hectare – indefinitely.
Wetlands are vital in maintaining healthy ecosystems
Our wetlands support a greater diversity of native birds, fish, invertebrates and plants than most other habitats, yet many wetland species are threatened with extinction.