This 3,556-hectare scientific reserve in Southland has a lagoon, ponds, lakes and peatland. It is part of a mosaic of freshwater and estuarine wetlands on the southern coast. Wildlife includes the giant kōkopu, South Island fernbird, New Zealand dotterel and wading birds. On the peatland, mānuka and inaka shrubs grow above wire rush and tangle fern. The cushion bogs are more typical of subalpine habitats than coastal ones. In 1976 the reserve became New Zealand’s first designated Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.
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