Bringing young students face-to-face with the issues affecting the survival or demise of wetland species.

School staff and teachers collaborate to provide an ecology 101 learning environment with support from parents and farmers, and regular input from the South Wairarapa Rotary club


Local support gives life

The Mangatete Wetland is on land just around the corner from Kahutara School. 

It is on land donated for our use by Fraser and Margaret Donald. It was a swampy corner on the farm that wasn’t in use.

Fraser cleared the land and formed two big ponds. He then donated a solar pump which is connected to a water supply on his farm. 

If the ponds become too low in summer water is continually pumped to maintain a level in the ponds.

The initial planting was undertaken in 2017 with funding assistance from South Wairarapa Rotary and Ducks Unlimited New Zealand, labour was also provided by a willing cadre of Rotary members. This pattern has continued on an annual basis and has allowed us to keep up a manageable level of planting.

The wetland management team have had to do some intensive spraying to try and eradicate the pampas grass and spot spraying for planting new trees. So far these measures appear to have been successful. 


There are now ducks nesting regularly and raising young on the ponds and a huge population of frogs and tadpoles. For the last two summers, groups of children have been taken on tadpoling adventures and have been able to do studies on the water life and insects e.g. dragonflies and damselfly etc. There is also a pair of kingfisher that have been resident close by since 2018 and visitors can see them regularly on the power lines going over the land.