Patearoa Inland Saline Wetland

Description: A moderately large saline site near the Upper Taieri River consisting of small bare salty areas at the base of surrounding hillsides. On farm land adjacent to Styx-Patearoa Road 1

Type/Class: Inland saline 2

Size: 4.5 ha

Altitude: 380 - 400 m above sea level

Approximate location: 2.2 km Northeast of the intersection of Paerau Road and Linnburn Runs Road, Paerau | NZTM (centre point): E1361790 N4977720

Regional Plan: Water for Otago | Schedule 9 Regionally Significant Wetland, no.121, Map F22

Territorial Authority: Central Otago District Council

Recorded Values

Value Description
A1 Habitat for nationally or internationally rare or threatened species or communities. Presence of threatened plant species Myosurus minimus subsp. novae zelandiae (nationally endangered). 1
A5 Scarce in Otago in terms of its ecological or physical character. Less than 18% of inland saline areas remain in Otago. 2
A7 High diversity of indigenous wetland flora and fauna. High diversity of salt tolerant plants and moths (see Grove 1994, p59 86), its combined botanical and entomological values making it the most important example of such habitat in Central Otago and New Zealand. 1
A2 - A4, A6, A8, A9 No relevant information is currently held by the ORC.

Other Information:

  • Protected by QEII National Trust open space covenant (4.55 ha) 5/12/053. A Management Statement was prepared in 1995. 1

  • Listed as an Area of Significant Indigenous vegetation, Habitats of Indigenous Fauna and wetlands in the Central Otago District Plan. 55

  • Presence of native halophytes such as Apium sp., Selliera microphylla, Atriplex buchananii (all with threat statuses of naturally uncommon), Puccinellia raroflorens (nationally critical), and Lepidium kirkii (nationally critical), the rare Carmichaelia vexillata, Lepidium sisymbrioides, with other dry land plant species such as Leptinella maniototo, white fuzzweed (Vittadinia australis) and common mat daisy (Raoulia australis). 4

  • Other halophyte species present include New Zealand celery/tūtae kōau (Apium prostratum), salt grass (Puccinellia fasciculata), salt grass (Puccinellia stricta) and three-square (Schoenoplectus pungens). 8

  • Soil classified as Saline Immature Semiarid Soil and Alkaline Immature Semiarid Soil. 8

  • Invertebrate species recorded include Arctesthes catapyrrha, Capua semiferana, Crocydopora cinigerella, Eudonia sabulosella, Eudonia leptalea, Eurythecta zelaea, Loxostege sp. nov., Lycaena boldenarum, Orocrambus corruptus, Paranotoreas brephosata, Paranotoreas fulva, Phaeosaces sp. nov., Scopula rubraria, Scoriodyta suttonensis, Scythris triatma, Sporophylla oenospora, Stenoptilia celidota, Zizina oxleyi and the grasshopper Sigaus campestris. 8

  • The Department of Conservation considers the Patearoa Inland Saline Wetland to be a highly important site for biological conservation. On a scale from 1 (highest value) to 11 (lowest value) the site was given a rank of 1 on the basis of its geographical extent, relative representativeness (the extent to which the site represents the assumed 1840 condition), diversity and rarity of biota and soils. 8

  • Potential threats to the site include fire, irrigation, fertiliser, oversowing, and invasion by exotic weed species. 8

  • Ranked as a soil site of international importance. 8

  • The plant community has been described as communities of low pH (phosphorus), low conductivity soils with short tussock grassland, depleted herbfield/shrubland, grassland/herbfield, and exotic perennial grassland/herbfields with communities of permanently moist or wet soils of near neutral pH and low salinity with sedgeland/rushland plants, and communities of soil with relatively high pH and conductivity with salt meadow on slightly salty moist areas and salt grassland/herbfield on dry salt pan. 8



Aerial View of Patearoa Inland Saline Wetland (March 2005)



Patearoa Inland Saline Wetland (February 2003)



Patearoa Inland Saline Wetland (February 2003)



1 Otago Regional Council (2004) Regional Plan: Water for Otago. Published by the Otago Regional Council, Dunedin.

2 Ausseil, A.G., Newsome, P., Johnson, P. (2008) Wetland Mapping in the Otago Region. Landcare Research Contract Report prepared for the Otago Regional Council.

4 Peat, N. and Patrick, B. H. (1999) Wild Central. Discovering the natural history of Central Otago. Published by the University of Otago Press, Dunedin.

8 Allen, R.B. and McIntosh, P.D. (1997) Guidelines for conservation of salt pans in Central Otago. Science for Conservation: 49. Published by the Department of Conservation, Wellington.

51 Otago Regional Council – Photo Archive.

55 Central Otago District Council (2008) Central Otago District Plan, Published by Central Otago District Council, Alexandra.

Page last updated 10 July 2024.