Wetlands in the Wairarapa were once widespread but most were drained and cleared in the 1960s and 70s. The Buddle Findlay Wetland covenant protects one of the last and most extensive flaxland wetland areas remaining in the district. Large-scale earthworks have been carried out to create stop banks around the covenant. Over time flood waters will swamp the area behind stop banks, providing the right conditions for flax to regenerate and spread. Property managers, Grant and Karina McGhie, have already planted some 3,000 flaxes and 500 cabbage trees in the wetland to help kick-start the process.
The wetland is habitat for tui, bellbirds and pukeko, and brown teal have also been sighted there. The rare swamp nettle (Urtica linearifolia) grows in the covenant.
Visitors will be able to see the transformation for themselves as public access has been allowed as part of the covenant agreement.
Location: Kahutara Road, 15km south of Featherston in the Wairarapa, North Island. Heading south-east on State Highway 53, turn into Kahutara Road. After approximately 3 km look for the Wairio Station sign on the left side of the road. Signage identifies the covenant site.