Project Title: Restoring a wāhi taonga - Te Nohoaka o Tukiauau / Sinclair Wetlands - Stage 2

Funding Close Date: 1 Dec 2021 (1 month 10 days remaining)



Metres Planted:
405 m

NZD $42540.11

Location: Sinclair Wetlands, Outram

GPS Coordinates: -45.982045, 170.081212

Project Cost: NZD $57750

Cost per Metre: NZD $105

Metres to be planted: 550m

Project ID: SI12

Project Description:


The legends at Speight’s are helping us look after what matters – New Zealand’s precious waterways! Every new donation to Sinclair Wetlands will now be matched by Speight’s up to $20,000. Make your donation today.


After the success of our last fundraiser we are back to raise funds to plant more trees and restore even more of this important wetland.

In the early 18th century, local chief Tukiauau and his Kāti Māmoe iwi, pursued by Kāi Tahu, took  refuge on Whakaraupuka (Ram Island) setting up their village  (nohoaka).  His name remains attached to the wetlands, while the swamp complex remained an important food basket and precious place (mahika kai) for later peoples.

As well as being an important cultural site the wetland is an incredibly important area ecologically. It provides habitat for native birds, fish and insects and helps to reduce the severity of flooding and droughts by absorbing and storing excess rainfall and releasing this water again in hot weather. Wetlands also act as a filter between land and water helping stop sediment and pollutants entering our streams, rivers and harbours. 


In early farming days most of the Taieri Plains wetlands were drained and converted to farmland, leaving just two of the original lakes (Waihola and Waipori) and their adjacent swamps.  

Te Nohoaka o Tukiauau/ Sinclair Wetlands, through the vision of Horrie Sinclair have been protected since the 1960’s, low lying areas were retired from pumping and grazing and a Queen Elizabeth II National Trust open space covenant was registered. In 1998 the property was returned to Ngāi Tahu as part of the Ngāi Tahu Claim Settlement Act. Since this time, restoration efforts have accelerated through strong links with the iwi, community and volunteer networks. Our aims are to protect and enhance the wetland system of Te Nohoaka o Tukiauau/ Sinclair Wetlands. We put emphasis on restoring vegetation condition and healthy habitat, maintaining water quality, while enhancing mahika kai, restoring the

connection that local iwi have with their ancestral site, and reconnecting people back to the land via education and hands-on experience.

Within the swamps the main plants are ten species of Carex sedges (so-called ‘cutty-grasses’), shrubs of mingimingi, and fans of harakeke. The slightly higher ground of river margins hold more trees and shrubs, including tī kouka (cabbage trees), while water margins have dense reedlands of raupō that extend as rafts out across the water. Numerous aquatic plants provide food for ducking and diving waterbirds.


Whakaraupuka still holds remnants of the original native bush. Restoration of forest is now well underway, as weedy gorse and broom scrub are being replaced by plantings of a large range of native tree species, especially, in the pioneer stages, kōhūhū, pāpāuma/broadleaf, kānuka, kōwhai, horoeka /lancewood, and koromiko. We are raising funds to continue the restoration of this area.

In 2019 thanks to our generous supporters and donors we raised $47,300 which enabled the planting of 6362 trees across 9000m2 in 2020.

We are back to build on last years success and raise a further $57750 to plant 6000 trees over 9000m2 of Whakaraupuka island. Funds raised will go towards preparing the site for planting by removing weeds. They will pay for some of the plants and plant guards to protect the young plants as well as funding project co-ordination and contributing towards 3 years of maintenance. 15% of the funds raised will go to the Million Metres Streams Project. The team at Million Metres keep the website running, connect projects with funding, resources and people, and share the overall impact of the programme.

This is a collaborative effort with support from Department of Corrections, Ngāi Tahu, Department of Conservation’s Kaimahi For Nature fund and Speight’s.

We try to use as little chemicals as possible and rely on volunteer power to weed around the young plants to ensure their survival. We have a few hungry rabbits on site so the tree guards are essential to protect the plants as they grow.

All the plants are eco-sourced from a variety of places. One third will come from commercial nurseries, another third grown for us by Otago Corrections Facility and the final one third grown on-site.


We need your support to raise $57750, which will help to plant 6000 native plants to restore this incredibly important site.


Speight’s partnership with Million Metres is part of a long history of Speight’s taking care of what matters. For 10 years, Speight’s supported environmental projects in the Otago region via the Speight’s Fund. In 2019, Speight’s and Million Metres partnered to transform this programme to deliver support to waterway restoration projects in Otago, and nationally. Speight’s supported planting days in 2019 and 2020, with 2021 shaping up to be another great year! Million Metres and Speight’s will keep developing the partnership over time to grow its impact.  

Progress Photos: