Pleasant River Estuary Wetland Complex

Description: Saltmarsh above coastal marine area near the mouth of Pleasant River. 1

Type/Class: Swamp, Marsh and Seepage. 2

Size: 84.1 ha.

Altitude: 0 - 20 m above sea level.

Approximate location: East of the intersection of Palmerston-Waikouaiti Road and Goodwood Road, Palmerston. NZTM (centre point): E1421940 N4953350.

Regional Plan: Water for Otago. Schedule 9 Regionally Significant Wetland, no.123, Map F62.

Territorial Authority: Waitaki District Council and Dunedin City Council.


Interactive map of Pleasant River Estuary

Recorded Values:




High degree of wetland naturalness. 2


Scarce in Otago in terms of its ecological or physical character. Scarce wetland type: saltmarsh community with glasswort (Sarcocornia quinqueflora), Puccinellia spp., Atriplex spp., rekoreko (Selliera radicans), sea primrose (Samolus repens) and jointed rush. 1 Less than 15% of swamps and marshes remain in Otago. 2

A1 - A3, A6 - A9

No relevant information is currently held by the ORC.


Other Information:

  • Presence of silver tussock (Poa cita) and saltmarsh ribbonwood (Plagianthus divaricatus).

  • Bird species include Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica), Banded Dotterel (Charadrius bicinctus bicinctus), Pied Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) and South Island Pied Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus finschi). 26

  • Other species recorded along the streams margin include sea blite (Suaeda novae-zelandiae), glasswort (Sarcocornia quinqueflora), salt grass (Puccinellia stricta), remuremu (Selliera radicans), sea primrose (Samolus repens) and slender clubrush (Isolepis cernua). Further from the stream vegetation grades into a grassland-herbfield containing creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera), Buck’s-horn plantain (Plantago coronopus), rekoreko (Selliera radicans), glasswort (Sarcocornia quinqueflora) and sea primrose (Samolus repens). 77

  • Cord grass (Spartina anglica) was recorded as being present. 77

  • Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), Spur-winged Plover (Vanellus miles novaehollandiae), Southern Black-backed Gull (Larus dominicanus), Feral Goose, and Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) have been recorded. 77

  • The indigenous mistletoe/tāpia (Tupeia antarctica) has been recorded. 27

  • Called the Pleasant River Estuary in the Waitaki District Plan, where it is listed in the Schedule of Areas of Significant Nature Conservation Value and Geopreservation Sites. Described as estuarine habitat with Salicornia sp. saltmarsh, mud flats and sandspit. Valuable for waders and waterfowl, including Godwits, South Island Pied Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus finschi) and Variable Oystercatcher (Haematopus unicolor), Pied Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), Banded Dotterel (Charadrius bicinctus bicinctus), White-faced Heron (Ardea novaehollandiae novaehollandiae), Gulls (Laridae) and Shags (Phalacrocoracidae), Grey Duck (Anas superciliosa) and Grey Teal (Anas gracilis). White-fronted Tern (Sterna striata) has been reported breeding on the sandspit and fur seals have been recorded. The area is important for estuarine terrestrial invertebrates. Classified as a Site of Special Wildlife Interest (SSWI). 12

  • Called the Pleasant River Estuary in the Dunedin City District Plan where it is listed as an Area of Significant Conservation Value. Described as an estuary with succulent herb swamp, mudflat, salt rush and reed swamp, and of regional significance. 28

  • Part of the area includes QEII covenant 5/12/103.



Aerial view of Pleasant River Estuary Wetland Complex (March 2005)



Pleasant River Estuary Wetland Complex



Sea blite (Suaeda novae-zelandiae, red-green and multi-lobed) with some glasswort (Sarcocornia quinqueflora, long and pale green) (2009)



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.

12 Waitaki District Council (2004) Waitaki District Plan. Published by the Waitaki District Council, Oamaru.

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

27 De Lange, P.J. and Norton, D.A. (eds.) (1997) New Zealand’s loranthaceous mistletoe. Proceedings of a workshop hosted by Threatened Species Unit, Department of Conservation.

28  Dunedin City Council (1999) Dunedin City District Plan. Published by the Dunedin City Council, Dunedin.

51 Otago Regional Council – Photo Archive.

77 Wildland Consultants (2009) Pleasant River – Land Use Consent. Report prepared for Rooney Earthmoving Ltd


Page last updated 9 July 2024.