Current Projects

The Whakaora Te Waihora programme is involved in a number of projects.  More detail about some of the significant ones is included on this page.

Whakaora Te Ahuriri

The Whakaora Te Ahuriri project will create a constructed wetland at Ahuriri Lagoon to improve water quality, biodiversity and mahinga kai values.


Ahuriri Lagoon was once an open body of water stretching to the hills and surrounded by a rich wetland, which had been a significant place and mahinga kai/food resource for Ngāi Tahu.

Over the years the Lagoon was completely drained and the ecological and mahinga kai values were all but lost. However, because the site is an Environment Canterbury reserve, and there is community desire to see the Lagoon restored, the Whakaora Te Ahuriri project was initiated to create a constructed wetland at this site.

Ahuriri lagoon-Te Waihora

The paddock that will become the constructed wetland (image taken in June 2018). Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere can just be seen at top right.

Where is Ahuriri Lagoon?

Ahuriri Lagoon is situated between Tai Tapu and Motukarara. It can be accessed via the Little River Rail Trail, which runs adjacent to the Whakaora Te Ahuriri project site.

The nearest road access is Neills Road: Cars can be parked at the end of Neills Road, near where the Little River Rail Trail runs beside the Huritini/Halswell River. The main body of the constructed wetland is some 900m along the trail to the right/east.

Who is involved in the project?

The Whakaora Te Ahuriri project is all about working together.

  • The desire to restore the wetland came from local Papatipu Rūnanga and the community. They are represented on the Ahuriri Lagoon Steering Group, which advises on the project.

The project is:

Latest updates

  • The constructed wetland was designed with input from community and experts.
  • The engineering and earthworks to create the wetland will start in February 2019.
  • Once the wetland has been completed, the site will be planted with 81,000 aquatic plants to help filter the water, and 48,000 terrestrial plants to provide habitat to many native birds and other animals.
  • A blessing ceremony was held on 4 February 2019
Te Ahuriri map

Drawing of the constructed wetland when completed.

View the latest drone footage of the site below.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!