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Native freshwater and saltwater plant cultivation booklets

These booklets help provide guidance on the cultivation and restoration of native submerged macrophytes for environmental rehabilitation initiatives in freshwater and saltwater environments.


Aquatic plants are important because they support ecosystem processes such as primary productivity, nutrient and carbon sequestration, sediment aeration and stability and the provision of habitat for aquatic animals. Yet increasingly aquatic plant populations are under threat and there may be a need to cultivate plants to protect or safeguard those species, and to restore them to aquatic ecosystems.

Māori have a strong track record in the development of native plant nurseries for terrestrial and riparian restoration. Iwi, hapū and whanau aspire to become further involved in environmental rehabilitation initiatives and this project responds by producing two booklets to guide and help extend Māori capability to aquatic environments.

Scientific knowledge gathered across NIWA freshwater and estuary research projects and staff experiences over decades were brought together to develop the booklets. 

The booklets also drew upon past collaborations including:

  • culturing and translocating the coastal macrophyte kōrepo (Ruppia megacarpa) under the Whakaora Te Waihora (WTW) programme, with approval of Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri Rūnanga and Taumutu Rūnanga,
  • culturing Isoetes on behalf of the Lake Ōmāpere Trust,
  • scoping the potential for macrophyte restoration in degraded Waikato shallow lakes with partners including Waikato River Authority and DairyNZ, and
  • restoring native seagrass (Zostera muelleri), with supporters, funders and collaborators, including the Whangarei Harbour kaitiaki roopu, Northland Regional Council, Ministry for the Environment and Northport in Northland and Greater Wellington Regional Council, Porirua City Council, Guardians of Pāuatahanui Inlet and Ngāti Toa in Wellington.



We thank the Ngāti Hauā Mahi Trust for inspiring the production of these booklets.


Freshwater Ecologist
Principal Scientist - Freshwater Ecology
Native Freshwater Plant Cultivation booklet cover. [NIWA]
Native Saltwater Plant Cultivation booklet cover. [NIWA]