Protecting wetlands for their water quality and biodiversity values is a priority for the Council.

In our riparian and biodiversity programmes, we work with landowners to protect and enhance Taranaki’s precious wetlands.

Wetlands – swamps, marshes, bogs and the like – are the meeting ground of land and fresh water. Those in Taranaki support a diverse array of plants and animals, some of them rare and threatened.

As well as being important for biodiversity, wetlands act as the ‘kidneys of the land’ and bring land management benefits. They store water during rainfall, helping to reduce flood levels. In dry periods, they release water to help maintain farm supplies.

Wetlands rules: What you need to know

 The Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020(external link) (NES-F) came into force on 3 September 2020.  

There are now strict rules regarding what you can do in or near natural wetlands. The NES-F cover:

  • Vegetation clearance within, or within a 10-metre setback of, a natural wetland
  • Earthworks or land disturbance within, or within a 10-metre setback of, a natural wetland (or 100m if it is likely that the works will result in any drainage of a natural wetland)
  • The taking, use, damming, diversion, or discharge of water within, or within a 100-metre setback of, a natural wetland
  • Sphagnum moss harvesting within a natural wetland
  • Intensive winter grazing within five metres of a waterbody

Click here [PDF, 582 KB] for more details on the new wetlands rules.

If you wish to undertake any activities in or near a wetland we recommend you first contact the Council for advice.

Got a wetland on your property?

Contact our Land Management Officers about the best way to take care of it. Call the Council on 0800 736 222 or email info@trc.govt.nz


As the map illustrates, Taranaki has lost most of its original wetlands, most notably on the ring plain.

Map comparing historic wetland coverage in Taranaki to wetland coverage in 2012

Mapping in 2012 revealed that Taranaki has only 8.1% of its original wetlands (note that the mapping process did not pick up wetlands that still exist in Egmont National Park). Nationwide, an estimated 10.1% of original wetlands remain and the figure for the North Island is less than 5%. Click on map for large version.

Making progress

However, losses have slowed in recent years as the community has responded to Council encouragement, advice and assistance, as well as rules in its Regional Freshwater Plan for Taranaki (currently under review). From 2001 to 2007, an estimated 121ha of wetland was lost, but from 2007 to 2012, only 42ha or 1.3% of the total was lost. This amounts to a 60% reduction in the annual rate of loss.

The condition of the remaining wetlands is also improving, particularly those where the Council and the landowner have developed a biodiversity plan under the Key Native Ecosystem programme.


Graphic: Wetland health in Taranaki

Out of the 40 wetlands assessed by the Council between 2010 and 2012, 76% were in good condition or better. Of those, 20% were considered to be in excellent or very good condition.

Reassessment of the 40 wetlands assessed between 2010 and 2012 show an improvement in 72% that have a Council biodiversity plan, and 31% of those without a plan.

The main improvements in sites with biodiversity plans were in the dominance and condition of native vegetation in and around the wetland – the result of improved fencing and weed and pest control.

The Council is also working with holders of riparian management plans to ensure that wetlands are encompassed in the fencing and planting of streambanks on the ring plain.