Tahakopa River Bogs

Description: Estuarine swamp, saltmarsh and rush/sedge/flax/podocarp (Podocarpus sp.) bog above the coastal marine area near mouth of Tahakopa River, adjacent to Papatowai township. 1

Type/Class: Swamp, Bog and Tidal Marsh. 2

Size: 185.9 ha.

Altitude: 0 - 20 m above sea level.

Approximate location: South of intersection of Mouats Saddle Road and Centre Road, Papatowai.
NZTM (centre point): E1326660 N4840430.

Regional Plan: Water for Otago. Schedule 9 Regionally Significant Wetland, no.146, Map F54.

Territorial Authority: Clutha District Council.


Interactive map of Tahakopa River Bogs

Recorded Values

Value Description
A1 Habitat for nationally or internationally rare or threatened species or communities. Threatened Australasian Bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus) and Fernbird (Bowdleria punctata) recorded at this site. 1
A4 High degree of wetland naturalness. 2
A5 Scarce in Otago in terms of its ecological or physical character. Wetland scarce in the region in terms of its ecological character. Rare example of riparian white pine/kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides) and silver beech (Nothofagus menziesii) forest. Along with Maclennan River Podocarp Swamp Complex, this is the largest area of pūkio (Carex secta) swamp under reserve status in Otago. Active peat deposit (1.3 km2) including peat dome. 1 High regional scientific value. 1 Less than 15% of swamps and marshes remain in Otago. 2
A6 Highly valued by Kai Tahu for cultural and spiritual beliefs, values and uses, including mahika kai and waahi taoka. 1
A7 High diversity of indigenous wetland flora and fauna. High wetland plant species diversity. 1
A2, A3, A8, A9 No relevant information is currently held by the ORC.


Other Information

  • Composition of manuka, jointed wire rush/oioi (Leptocarpus similis) and white pine/kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides). 2

  • Includes part of the Papatowai Scenic Reserve.

  • Wetland area within the Papatowai Scenic Reserve is called the Tahakopa River Mouth in the Clutha District Plan, where it is listed as a Significant Wetland. Described as slow-flowing brackish water with extensive mudflats at low tide. Good numbers of White-faced Heron (Ardea novaehollandiae novaehollandiae) and other waders and Shags. Good mudflat fauna and shellfish for food. Whitebait/inaka (Galaxias spp.) and other fish. 37

  • Location of early Moa hunting camps at Papatowai and near the Tahakopa River mouth. 57

  • Slight overlap with QEII covenant 5/12/066.

  • Part of the Tahakopa River Bogs is called the Tahakopa Wetland in the Clutha District Plan, where it is listed as a Significant Wetland. Described as a rush and sedge swamp, shrub bog and heathland, podocarp (Podocarpus sp.) swamp and flax swamp. 37

  • Adjacent land is drained and the habitat is a former peat bog. 37

  • Presence of Fernbird (Bowdleria punctata) and Australasian Bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus). Average number of Finches (Fringillidae), and good insect life in mud for food. 37



Aerial view of Tahakopa River Bogs (March 2006)



Aerial view of Tahakopa River Bogs with Stuarts Marsh in the background (2008) 2 



Tahakopa River Bogs (2010) 51



Tahakopa River Bogs (2010) 51 



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.

37 Clutha District Council (1998) Clutha District Plan. Published by the Clutha District Council, Balclutha.

51 Otago Regional Council – Photo Archive.

57 History of Clutha Country. Retrieved from Clutha Country Online.

Page last updated 12 July 2024.