Community feedback sought on wetland complex design

Over the past two weeks Horizons Regional Council has sought feedback from the community around the design that’s been completed for a constructed wetland complex near Lake Horowhenua.

Horizons chair and co-chair of the project Governance Group Rachel Keedwell says the wetland complex project has been underway since council received Mahi mō te Taiao – Jobs for Nature funding in 2020 to improve water quality in the Horowhenua catchment.
“The recent completion of the master conceptual design for the wetland complex is an exciting step towards improving the water quality of both Lake Horowhenua and the catchment,” says Cr Keedwell.
“Over the past few weeks Horizons invited key groups to a series of meetings in various locations across the district to seek feedback on the design of the wetland complex. These meetings have been open to the general public and have included landowners, neighbours, and stakeholders, with iwi engagement taking place separately.
“The meetings have allowed us to engage with members of the community on the project, hear their feedback and give them the opportunity to ask us questions. Overall the meetings have been really helpful as we’ve heard a range of perspectives, including a lot around the current issues with groundwater and drainage in the area during a very wet year.
“We understand there are concerns about what a wetland complex might do to worsen those issues and so careful consideration has, and will continue to be, given to that in the design process . We are committed to working through and understanding possible impacts, as well as working with neighbouring landowners.
“The additional feedback we’ve received at these meetings will allow for further refinement of the proposed wetland complex which is great.”
Cr Keedwell says beyond the meetings Horizons has provided information online and the project team continues to welcome feedback.
“We have created a dedicated webpage for this project on our website so anyone in the community can see it and be involved,” she says.
“The page includes the conceptual design, and a number of scientific reports that have been completed for the Waiopehu Freshwater Management Unit that have been used to inform the development of the conceptual design. A dedicated email address of has been established to provide feedback to.
“The page also has detail on the wider suite of completed and in progress interventions for the catchment which the wetland adds to. This includes the constructed sediment trap, Hōkio Stream fish pass, and weed harvesting to address water quality and aquatic health within the Lake Horowhenua.”
Cr Keedwell says a lot of work has gone in behind the scenes to get the conceptual design for the wetland complex completed.
“The design has been developed with wetland experts; Jacobs, NIWA, and Tonkin and Taylor as well as a Mātauranga ropu established with Muaūpoko Tribal Authority and the Lake Horowhenua Trust. Including these parties has meant that a wide range of perspectives have been included and Te Mana o te Wai has been at the forefront.
“The initial phase of the project will incorporate at least 15 hectares of the land that Horizons was able to purchase last year thanks to the Jobs for Nature funding, and will have the ability to add further to the wetland in the future.
“The initial wetland complex construction will help to reduce the amounts of nitrogen, sediment and phosphorus entering the lake. Combined with the other interventions in place, and more that are to be developed in the future, the water quality within the lake will improve.
“The feedback we’ve received through this engagement will be taken back to the Governance Group for consideration for the final design. The Governance Group will also make decisions on further community engagement and what consenting pathway to take.
“The project team will be looking to lodge a consent to do the work early-mid 2023.”
For more information about the wetland complex, including the concept design visit: