Restiad wetlands are rare. Within New Zealand they are only present in the Waikato and even here only three natural populations remain.
A special feature of restiad wetlands is that they form peat. Once extensive, most areas supporting this wetland type have now been cleared, drained and converted to pasture.
Between 2005-2007, NZ Landcare Trust received funding from the Ministry for the Environment’s Sustainable Management Fund, firstly to look at the feasibility of ‘recreating’ areas of restiad wetland and secondly to trial potential techniques for bringing back areas of this wetland type.
A community group from Raglan/Whaingaroa helped with the task of collecting, transporting and planting out more than a thousand specimens in October 2006. Now several years of monitoring shows that restiad wetlands can establish successfully even in areas of sprayed pasture, if nutrient levels aren’t too high; if the ground is peaty and moist; and weeds that affect or suffocate natives are controlled. In time, these areas may again be able to grow peat.