Tokomairiro River Swamp

Description: Areas of rush/sedge/flax fresh water swamp adjacent to the Tokomairiro Estuary and the main river channel landward of the coastal marine area boundary. 1

Type/Class: Swamp. 2

Size: 174.5 ha.

Altitude: 0 - 20 m above sea level.

Approximate location: 1.5 km North of the intersection of Toko Mouth Domain Road and Coast Road, Milton.
NZTM (centre point): E1371590 N4879480.

Regional Plan: Water for Otago. Schedule 9 Regionally Significant Wetland, no.153, Map F48.

Territorial Authority: Clutha District Council.


Interactive map of Tokomairiro River Swamp

Recorded Values

Value Description
A1 Habitat for nationally or internationally rare or threatened species or communities. 2
A4 High degree of wetland naturalness. 1
A5 Scarce in Otago in terms of its ecological or physical character. Scarce wetland type. Scarce glasswort (Sarcocornia quinqueflora) saltmarsh community present.1 Less than 15% of swamps remain in Otago. 2
A7 High diversity of indigenous wetland flora and fauna. High species diversity. Habitat for waterfowl species including the Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Grey Duck (Anas superciliosa) and New Zealand Shoveller/Kuruwhengi (Anas rhynchotis variegata), Grey Teal (Anas gracilis) and Black Swan (Cygnus atratus). Links directly with the downstream estuarine area, which provides habitat for the same species. Marsh Crake (Porzana pusilla affinis) and South Island Fernbird (Bowdleria punctata punctata) also present. 1
A2, A3, A6, A8, A9 No relevant information is currently held by the ORC.


Other Information

  • The area south of Toko Mouth Road (27.5 ha) has been protected by a QEII National Trust open space covenant since 1993. A Management Statement was prepared in 1994. 1

  • Part of the area includes QEII covenants 5/12/008 and 5/12/017.

  • Presence of sea sedge (Carex litorosa). 2

  • Called the Tokomairiro Swamp in the Clutha District Plan, where it is listed as a Significant Wetland, and described as a tidal swamp with a lot of shallow ponds in addition to main channel. Some of the habitat is former World War II paddy fields. Excellent habitat for Pied Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), which are very high in numbers. 37

  • Supports a diversity of estuarine and freshwater fish, including brown trout (Salmo trutta), whitebait/inanga (Galaxias spp.), koaro (Galaxias brevipinnis), common smelt (Retropinna retropinna), longfin eel/kuuwharuwharu (Anguilla dieffenbachii), shortfin eel/hao (Anguilla australis), lamprey/kanakana (Geotria australis), common bully/pako (Gobiomorphus cotidianus) and red-finned bully/toitoi (Gobiomorphus huttoni), mullet, 3 species of flounder (Rhombosolea spp.), spotty moki and blue moki (Latridopsis ciliaris). The estuary is bordered by saltmarsh, flax and sedges. 53



Tokmairiro River Swamp (2010)  51



Aerial view of Tokomairiro River Swamp (March 2006)



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.

53 Davis, S.F. (1987) Wetlands of national importance to fisheries. New Zealand freshwater fisheries report no. 90. Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Christchurch.

Page last updated 12 July 2024.