Fun with fish in Featherston

January 6, 2020
A freshwater monitoring workshop held by Mountains to Sea Wellington held over the hill in Featherston was the start of something great - and we don't just mean the great big tuna we found.

The Wairarapa Moana catchment is a puna of keen conservation-minded community rōpū. Mountains to Sea Wellington have been loving getting out in the wai and bringing them together to support through our freshwater fish monitoring workshops.

On the 21st and 22nd of November 2019 Mountains to Sea Wellington ran our second ever freshwater fish monitoring workshop in the Wairarapa Moana catchment.

“Empowering communities to become engaged and informed can only be a positive contribution to lifting the mana of our natural environment,” said Warren Maxwell

from the rōpū, Pae Tū Mōkai o Tauira, who hosted the workshop at their whare,Te Whare Raranga o Whakapapa.

The workshop focused on easily accessible methods of fish monitoring, looking at trapping and night spotlighting.

This was all while learning about why to monitor fish, proper handling and care, identification, understanding what the fish are telling us, and what to do with all the data.

The fish monitoring part of the workshop was held in the outflow of Bartons Lagoon to the Wairarapa Moana, and the night spotlighting was in a section of Abbots Creek (the Otauira).

Running workshops like this one, it is always awesome to see excitement on peoples faces when they see an eel or fish for the first time. The chance to interact that closely with nature is an incredible experience.

These workshops provide a great opportunity to connect, to both other like-minded locals and to the taiao. There was a wide variety of people; from from farmers, to ex commericial eelers and local rōpū.

“Holding a tuna in my hands was invigorating. I now have a new affinity with my tuna whanaunga” – Riki Heimer of Pae Tū Mokai.

With two full days in the field there was no shortage of highlights, from finding massive kaumatua tuna and tiny dwarf galaxiids through to building a great network and having a whole lot of fun.

As Karen Mikaera of PTMoT put it: “This has been the start of something great for Featherston.”

These workshops have been made possible thanks to funding from MfE’s Community Environment Fund and co-delivery support from Greater Wellington Regional Council. We look forward to helping spread this knowledge in the future.

Freshwater Manager
A powerhouse in freshwater conservation and a driving force within WBC. Always both a teacher and student, Liz leads the way for so much meaningful mahi within both education and community spaces.
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