World Wetlands Day

Held on February 2nd annually

World Wetlands Day is held on February 2nd annually to celebrate the 1971 adoption of the International Convention on Wetlands in the Iranian City of Ramsar.

Each year there’s a new theme for World Wetlands Day and events are held throughout the country.  This year the theme is Wetlands and Biodiversity, to draw attention to the global decline in biodiversity and the crucial role of wetlands as biodiversity hotspots.

An estimated 40% of all species world-wide breed in wetlands. In New Zealand, wetlands now occupy just 1% of New Zealand’s land cover but a quarter of our native vascular plants (559 species) are either restricted to, or frequently encountered in freshwater or saline wetlands. Almost one third of wetland plants are threatened or at risk.  

Thirty percent of our native bird species regularly inhabit wetlands. Migratory bird species such as red knot  and bar-tailed godwit also utilise New Zealand wetlands, which lie at the southern end of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.

Many native fish reside in swampy areas, and a group of mudfish (Neochanna species) are adapted to living in dried up pools and tributaries, capable of burrowing into mud for extended periods and breathing through their mucus-coated skin. Some species are still being discovered and described, including the Smeagol galaxias (Galaxias aff. gollumoides) named after the swamp-dwelling creature in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  

The aquatic invertebrate fauna of lowland wetlands is dominated by midges, aquatic mites, copepods (swimming crustaceans), nematodes (worms) and ostracods (seed shrimps). There are many threatened invertebrate species including the stem-borer moth, Houdinia flexilissima, which is host-specific to the nationally threatened giant cane rush (Sporadanthus ferrugineus).

Listen to a podcast of Trustee Melanie Dixon talking about wetlands on the Jesse Mulligan show for WWD 2019.

How will you celebrate World Wetlands Day in 2020?

Let us know if you have any events planned that we can help you promote. 

Check out some NZ wetland events for 2020

Te Matapuna Wetlands walk
3 January, Turangi

Join Project Tongariro and the DOC on a guided walk to explore the progress of the restoration projects alongside Lake Taupo. 9:30 AM 4:00 PM Meet at Licorice Cafe, State Highway 1, Taupo

Puhinui Reserve Guided Walk
30 Jan, Wiri, Auckland

The Puhinui Reserve park ranger will guide you through a protected and restricted conservation area of salt marsh and coastal foreshore habitat. A good level of fitness and mobility required. Some muddy and slippery sections involved.

Guided Walk, Harbourview
1 Feb 2020, Te Atatu, Auckland

A guided walk hosted by the "Friends of Harbourview" community group to explore a wetland wilderness on Te Atatu Peninsula. Medium level of personal fitness required and gumboots or sturdy footwear recommended.

Pūweto Festival
2 Feb, Waikato

Join the National Wetland Trust at lovely Lake Rotopiko to celebrate wetland biodiversity. Lots of great family fun activities planned. 10.30 til 2.30.​

Free Guided Kayaking
2 Feb, Auckland

Community Parks team in collaboration with Canoe and Kayak Ltd, are running an educational kayak trip through the beautiful Okura estuary. Experience a unique and special coastal wetland environment in the heart of the Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve. No previous experience kayaking experience is necessary although a good level of fitness and mobility is required.

Matuku Link Open Day
2 Feb, Auckland

Join Matuku Reserve Trust in West Auckland to enjoy their wetland restoration and a chance to see pateke/brown teal.

Grovetown Lagoon
2 Feb, Marlborough

Visit a community-led wetland restoration project, walk around the lagoon (3.2km; flat/graded track and boardwalks). Activities for the kids. Dogs on leads welcome. Start at the Wairau Rowing Club, Steam Wharf Rd, Grovetown. Bring warm clothes, sun protection and solid shoes.

DOC Waikato WWD event
2 Feb, Waikato

Family fun day at Waikare Golf Course, Te Kauwhata. Weaving demonstrations, competitions, sausage sizzle, pot a wetland plant, talk to DOC rangers. 10-2 pm.

2 Feb 2020, Wellington

Between 10:30am and 3:00pm Zealandia visitors will be able to talk to experts from organisations including the Hakuturi Roopu, Greater Wellington Regional Council, ZEALANDIA and Lakes380 and discover more about freshwater and wetlands in New Zealand.

Travis Wetlands guided walk
2 Feb, Christchurch

Come and see how over the past two decades a soggy cow paddock has been transformed back into a biodiverse wetland and the nucleus of a Mataī / Tōtara forest. The Travis Wetland Trust and Christchurch City Council are hosting a guided walk and morning tea. Meet at he Education Centre (10 am).

Onepoto Estuary Walk
2 Feb 2020, Porirua

Whitireia Park Restoration Group is celebrating this by inviting the public to a wetland walk and talk. We will look at the Onepoto estuary and the freshwater wetland in the lower Onepoto stream. If you want to join us meet at the gate by the Onepoto boat sheds at 9.30am. ​

Estuary Fest 2020
22 Feb 2020, Christchurch

Annual event celebrating the Avon-Heathcote Ihutai estuary. A fun family day out with plenty of opportunities to learn more about wetlands and estuary environments in between enjoying fabulous fairground rides, great music and food trucks.​