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Lake opening management Te Waihora has no natural outlet to the sea, and was opened by generations of Ngāi Tahu before Pākehā arrival. The first written settler’s record of an artificial opening between the lake and sea was in 1852. It has been opened over 300 times since for a range of cultural and environmental reasons including addressing flood risk and allowing spring fish migration.

What will success look like? •

Restored ecosystem health of Te Waihora - an internationally significant wetland, notable for its outstanding wildlife and native vegetation values

Restored and enhanced cultural sites and mahinga kai

Protected and restored lake margin wetland habitats, with existing indigenous vegetation and wildlife

Eels migrating to sea during lake opening.

Restored lowland tributary streams and habitats

Improved lake and catchment management practices with a focus on sustainable land use and drainage practices

A robust monitoring and investigations programme established to ensure that lake management activities are adapted as required.

It is expected that it will take at least two generations, or around 35 years, to restore and rejuvenate Te Waihora, particularly taking into account the lag effect of the pollutants already ‘in the post’ through the groundwater system.

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Profile for Environment Canterbury

Selwyn Te Waihora - Our water story  

This booklet outlines what is being done to restore and rejunvenate the ecosystem health of Te Waihora and its catchment.

Selwyn Te Waihora - Our water story  

This booklet outlines what is being done to restore and rejunvenate the ecosystem health of Te Waihora and its catchment.

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