Something Fishy Featherston

( Freshwater fish monitoring workshop )

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.”

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

Workshop focus

The workshop focussed 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.

Bringing together like-minded locals

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.

Local critters

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.”

A big thanks

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.

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