Tavora Wetland

Description: The wetland at Tavora is a very small coastal lagoon, impounded behind a beach sand dune in association with the mouth of Tavora Stream. 109

Type/Class: Saltmarsh on the margins of stream mouth lagoon. 109

Size: 2.23 ha

Altitude: 0 - 20 m above sea level.

Approximate location: East Otago 60 km north of Dunedin and 10 km east of Palmerston. NZTM (centre point): E1424888 N4955633

Regional Plan:  Water for Otago | Schedule 9 Regionally Significant Wetland, no.173, Map F61

Territorial Authority: Waitaki District Council


Interactive map of Tavora Wetland

Recorded Values:




Habitat for nationally or internationally rare or threatened species or communities. Habitat for Mimulus repens (Naturally uncommon) and feeding habitat for White Heron (Nationally Critical). 109


Scarce in Otago in terms of its ecological or physical character.  Coastal lagoons are rare ecosystems in Otago and nationally. 109

A2-A4, A6-A9

No relevant information is currently held by the ORC.


Other Information:

  • The wetland is part of a 40ha coastal strip and riparian reserve owned and managed for conservation by the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust since 1993. 28 hectares are leased for grazing, while 12 hectares of the coastal strip and the riparian strip alongside Tavora Creek are managed for conservation. 107

  • The reserve was placed under a Department of Conservation covenant in 1996, and is advised by a committee comprised of the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust, DoC, Kati Huirapa Runanga ki Puketeraki and a representative of the local community. 107

  • The reserve’s management’s objectives, contained in the Tavora Reserve Statement of Management Intent are to manage yellow-eyed penguin habitat, to foster the conservation of other species, and to provide a limited range of recreational opportunities for the public. 107

  • With regard to the vegetation management specifically, the 1996 plan had the following objective: “Re-establish and allow natural regeneration of coastal vegetation communities similar to that which previously existed in the area. These may include coastal forest, shrublands, wetlands, cliff and dune communities.” 108

  • At the time of the purchase, as for other beaches of the area, intensive farming practices had modified much of the native vegetation. A restoration programme is being carried out with the help of other organizations (DoC, Malcam Conservation Corps, Kiwi Conservation Club) and individual volunteers. 106

  • Restoration of the wetland’s values includes stock proof fencing and revegetation work on the wetland’s margins.

  • Native plant species observed in the wetland area include glasswort, bachelors’ button, Leptinella Diocia, three cornered sedge and some shrubs (saltmarsh ribbonwood). Flax, manuka and ngaio have been planted. 106

  • Riparian planting undertaken along the stream has improved water quality. Planting included flax, pittosporum sp, cabbage tree and Hall’s totara. 106

  • Native eels, galaxiids, grey herons, spotted shags, and paradise ducks have been observed in the wetland area. 106

  • The area is open to the public, and walking tracks with informative signage have been developed.



Aerial View of Tavora Wetland



Tavora wetland and mouth of the stream (2012)



Tavora Wetland (2012)



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.

106 Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust. Tavora Reserve Guided Walk. Retrieved from the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust website. http://yellow-eyedpenguin.org.nz/our-work/habitats/tavora/.

107 Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust.(2009) Fact Sheet - Tavora.

108 Correspondence with David McFarlane – Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust. (2012) Document ID A480575.

109 Pers comm. John Barkla.(2012) Document ID A480573.