The Kai Iwi lakes area has a fast-recovering ecology including rare and threatened plant and fish species, and water quality that is among the highest of any dune lakes in New Zealand. The lakes are a much-loved destination for Northlanders and visitors.
Who is responsible for managing the lakes?
Lake Kai Iwi, along with neighbouring Lakes Taharoa and Waikare, are managed by the Iwi and Kaipara District Council under the Kai Iwi Lakes (Taharoa Domain) Management Plan.
Ten landowners own 11 land parcels within the Lake Kai Iwi catchment, nine landowners own 12 land parcels in the Lake Taharoa catchment, and three landowners own three land parcels in Lake Waikare catchment.
Ecological values – what are we trying to protect/restore?
The Lakes and their catchments have high ecological value with the presence of several threatened species of flora and fauna. Native algae, aquatic plants and fish species are part of the habitat, including endangered dune lake galaxiids, which are unique to the lakes. Lake Taharoa has the deepest growing submerged vegetation in the North Island, at 24m. Many fish and water birds use the surrounding reed beds, wetlands and open water.
Dune lakes such as the Kai Iwi lakes are very sensitive to outside pressure and degrade easily. Water quality is monitored and managed to protect native algae, plants, birds and fish. Pests including exotic fish and invasive water weeds are targeted. On land, the primary focus is stoats, possums, rodents and feral cats.
Progress – what’s being done?
Efforts to reduce the amount of nutrients getting into the lakes are ongoing; protecting the water quality, preventing toxic algal blooms and reducing aquatic weed growth. Education programmes are an important part of this work. Active pest and weed control activities are carried out on land surrounding the lakes area.
Annual possum and rodent control operations have been undertaken since 2015 to help protect and restore native biodiversity. An extensive predator trapping network has been established and maintained over the last five years to protect native birds and improve nest success.
Support of Northland Regional Council
Northland Regional Council and Kaipara District Council have been working with the community to undertake pest and weed control activities at the Taharoa Domain since 2013. This work includes management of possums, stoats, feral cats and rodents. Pigs, goats and rabbits are controlled as necessary.