Matuku Link Closing the gap - Linking untouched kauri forest, a river valley, wetlands and the sea. Mon, 03 Oct 2022 01:19:43 +0000 en-NZ hourly 1 Holiday Programme Sun, 02 Oct 2022 22:35:01 +0000

Do you love the outdoors? Have you always wanted to spend a day discovering everything a wetland has to offer? Matuku Link is excited to invite children aged 7-12 to our inaugural Holiday Programme Day on the 12th October! You will have a great time exploring and learning from the wetland and forest, discovering some of New Zealand’s native and endemic species, and getting hands on and creative in an outdoor setting. You’ll get to feed our eels, meet Bruce the Pāteke and learn the secrets of the critters in our waterways! 

Our holiday programme day will run from 9am – 3pm on Wednesday 12 October. To book a spot or for more information, email

We look forward to exploring with you! – Leah 

No bridge too far Sun, 11 Sep 2022 12:13:37 +0000

Many years ago John Sumich needed to cross over the Waitakere River to release the first batch of 20 pateke (brown teal) in the Te Henga wetland. He asked Fulton Hogan in Ranui if they might have a bridge, and they did: a 71 meter long one! John politely declined and built a raft in stead, to cross the three meter wide stream.

Several years later and further upstream, a rusty undercarriage was pretending to be a bridge. John remembered the bridge and went back to Fulton Hogan. By now, that bridge had been cut in pieces and used in several other projects. One 21 meter long part was currently in Glen Innes as temporary overpass and might become available at the end of its use there. It did, and not only did FultonHogan Ranui cut the bridge to size, they also brought it over to Matuku Link! 

However, a bridge needs foundations, and we needed to be certain it would be safe – an engineer was engaged (thank you Julius from Torless in Christchurch!), posts were rammed (thank you Spiral Drillers!), abutments welded (thank you Airdie Engineering!) and finally our incredible Jobs4Nature team of Devon, Jeff and Denis worked for weeks on cleaning, sanding, de-rusting, washing, priming and finally painting the bridge (thank you SBN for funding and Altex for the paint!). Finally, MachineryMovers lifted the bridge in place – some final tweaks and the bridge will be safe and ready to be used. None would have been possible without the generous funding of the Lotteries Environment Grant and everyone who donated their time and materials. All of this was done in the wettest July ever on record – quite a feat!

With just a little piece of boardwalk to be build, we are getting closer and closer to our aim of an accessible route from the Wetland Education Centre to our Pateke Pond lookout. 

Thank you to everyone who helped in whatever capacity – thank you, thank you, thank you. 

Hope to see you at our Birthday Celebration Party to show off our beautiful bridge… painted in the appropriate color ‘bridge teal’….

Annalily & the trustees

Bird banding Sun, 11 Sep 2022 11:24:11 +0000

Under the expert guidance of Stephen Davies and James Russell, a number of us have been getting up really early to learn how to “band birds”. This involves catching the birds in mist nets and gently giving them a tiny metal bracelet around their leg. The bird is weighed, its wing measured and if possible, its age and gender are established. All those facts are recorded against the number on its leg band. Not only does this help to let us know how many different birds are around Matuku Link, it is also a great opportunity for budding bird banders to learn the craft – and possibly move from Level 1 (absolute beginner) to Level 3 (expert). It is actually the only way to learn, as there are no certified courses: it is learning by doing under supervision of an expert. Visitors who happen to see the process are always impressed – to see a wild native bird up close is an incredible experience, whatever the size of the bird!

We’re super lucky to have two of these experts close by, and for them to share their knowledge and experience with us, while adding yet another way to monitor our bird numbers. 

Thank you James and Stephen!



Birthday, Bridge, Birds, Beer Sun, 11 Sep 2022 10:14:30 +0000

Join us for our Birthday Bash!

Our fifth anniversary was just after last  year’s longest lockdown, so we had to skip it… a great reason to do a much bigger party this sixth year. There is also much more to celebrate: our accessible walkway, our education program, our planting… all done with help from all of you, our amazing volunteers, donors and funders. Have a beer (or a wine), grab something from the barbeque, admire the bridge, go for a bug walk in the evening and have a banter with fellow volunteers and supporter.

Saturday 5th November – 6pm 

We’d love to see you there and raise a glass in celebration – please RSVP for catering purposes – at

Annalily & the trustees

Fundraising Film Sun, 11 Sep 2022 07:57:02 +0000

Has it been six years already? Yes it has! Four trustees bought Matuku Link in November 2016 and we’ve been fundraising ever since… this time we hope to welcome you at our Fundraising Film Night – the incredible documentary on New Zealand wetlands “Rohe Kōreporepo – The Swamp, the Sacred Place” – a movie by filmmaker Kathleen Gallagher.

She will join us for a Q & A session on Wednesday 9th November 2022 

Two sessions, 6pm and 8pm, at the classic Lopdell House Theatre in Titirangi. Just $25 per ticket which includes a wine or soft drink, nibbles and good company. Feel free to pay more, all profits will benefit our Te Henga/Bethells wetland restoration.

Buy your tickets now and support your favourite wetland project:

Trailer and more info here:

This powerful environmental documentary explores the re-flooding, re-creation and restoration of our wetlands by 60 kaitiaki repo/swamp guardians from throughout Aotearoa as they restore our old and intimate relationships with Rohe Kõreporepo, our swamps, our sacred places.

This documentary is a positive ecological story following teams of kaitiaki (guardians) as they work to replant and reflood Aotearoa’s dying wetlands and swamps using mātauranga (traditional Māori knowledge) as their guide. Wetlands and swamps act as “territorial sponges” in the landscape: soaking up rainwater, preventing flooding, recharging groundwater systems and storing carbon. They were also ancient food baskets for Māori. In this extended trailer, local iwi, farmers, artists, scientists and young people from across Aotearoa discuss the unique ecosystems of their rohe kōreporepo — swamps and sacred places.

Feedback on this Film

If you’ve never cried about a swamp, you’ve probably never seen Rohe Kooreporepo. Placing a strong emphasis on Māori voices and perspectives, this film offers a fascinating, hopeful and often heartbreaking survey of the activities and ecology working to protect Aotearoa’s wetlands. Amelia Berry

“This film is outstanding and really highlighted the part wetlands can play in sinking 30% of the world’s carbon. ” Paulette Double, Teacher

Wetlands aren’t just a vital component of the natural environment, to tangata whenua wetlands are a place for resource gathering and making kai, a vital habitat for waterfowl and tuna, raupō and harakeke. In these days of eco-anxiety, we need positive stories like this to show us a way forward.” Rebecca Priestly NZIFF

”In Rohe Kōreporepo we visit some of Aotearoa’s few remaining swamp areas and the people who are preserving, protecting and expanding on what is left, for the good of us all. This is an informative and inspiring wee film that I enjoyed very much.” Graeme Tuckett, Stuff

“A wonderful premiere of your latest ‘chef d’oeuvre’. A fantastic achievement.” Dr Philippe Gerbeaux Department of Conservation .


About the filmmaker

Kathleen Gallagher is a filmmaker and a writer. She received the NZ Playwrights Award in 1993 and the Sonja Davies Peace award in 2004 for her film Tau Te Mauri Breath of Peace. She has authored 3 collections of poetry, 17 full length plays and 8 feature films.

Her films Earth Whisperers Papatuanuku, Water Whisperers Tangaroa and Seven Rivers Walking Haere Mārire have received top audience ratings in both Aotearoa New Zealand and International film Festivals.

Her highly acclaimed novel Earthquakes and Butterflies was published in 2015. Her most recent novel Inangahua Gold was shortlisted in the NZ Heritage Book Awards 2019. She established Wickcandle Film in 2004.

Read the interview with Kathleen Gallanger for FLICKS here for her thoughts and inspiration for this movie.  

Welcome Leah! Fri, 12 Aug 2022 08:38:25 +0000

Kia ora!

I’m Leah Nielsen and I’m excited to be joining Matuku Link as the new educator. I come from a teaching background, having taught primary school in both New Zealand and the UK, but my passion is the environment and wildlife. I love learning about the natural world and am excited to learn more at Matuku Link and pass on some of that knowledge.

This year I took a break from classroom teaching and have been working on the Papakura Stream Restoration Project, restoring the stream banks and planting native trees. I am looking forward to getting to know the Matuku Link community!

You can contact me on or come out to Matuku Link to say hello 🙂

Nga mihi, Leah

Secrets of our streams Fri, 12 Aug 2022 07:10:42 +0000

Secrets of our streams

Aquatic species largely go unseen in our streams and wetlands. Many of them have fascinating life cycles linked to the moon and tides.

At Matuku Link we have been surveying our waterways to discover which species are currently found here, and which could be reintroduced in future as we continue to restore the wetland.

Gillian Wadams will present the findings of eDNA sampling, fish trapping and night spotlighting work. 

Please rsvp to

Hope to see you there! – Annalily & the trustees

All images by our voluntary professional photographer Jacqui Geux – thank you!

Education initiation Thu, 11 Aug 2022 21:43:24 +0000

A great team of students from Kelston Intermediate came out to Matuku Link to experience our very first Wetland Education Program session – Te kaupapa rohe koreporepo.

This all boys team lead by kaiako John and his colleagues were super engaged with all we shared with them: from Brian Ireland’s introduction of the most important te reo words of the day and acknowledging Te Kawerau A Maki, mana whenua of this region, to John Stanilands’ talk about kahikatea (and pointing out that these trees are either boys or girls!) to their exercises to identify macroinvertebrates, lead by Hohepa Waenga. All our education volunteers helped them to compare the quality of the water based on the temperature, clarity and inhabitants – a hands-on activity for all of them. The afternoon focused on birds – how to read bird bands (from left to right, top to bottom), identify birds by their song, and use the binoculars to spot (stuffed) birds with their color bands.

It was a great day and I’m not sure who enjoyed it more: the students and their teachers, or our trustees who saw the final part of our Matuku Link vision come to fruition!

We’ve got a couple more schools booked in for the coming weeks – let us know if you’re interested to join our team of volunteers, or if you are interested to bring your school group out here for a full immersion Wetland program.

Nga mihi, Annalily (manager) & Leah (educator) –

Photos taken by several volunteers – thank you!

Many hands plant a lot! Wed, 20 Jul 2022 08:03:42 +0000
If it was the tiny bit of desperation that shone through my call for planters last Sunday, or the fact it was a sunny day after two weeks of rain, if it was the School Holidays or if it is the yummy food shared… whatever the reason, we had a HUGE team of helpers to plant. Thank you to all our planters, aged 6 to 76, for digging holes and carefully giving our lovely eco-sourced plant babies the best future possible. We almost ran out of spades for our planters! Luckily everyone is always adaptable and we made teams and shared. Loads of carex grasses, many ti kouka (cabbage trees), trays full of manuka and kanuka (the pointy and non-pointy ones) and some nice karamu (coprosma robusta), hebes, kahikatea and totara were planted. I have to admit I lost track of the exact numbers, but it will have been close to 500!

A special mention to Brendan Cameron who brought his whole team from Radically, and our super supporter Carly who brought most members of her whanau and their friends. Well done!!!

Again, thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope you enjoyed the day as well and if you’ve recovered in four weeks’ time, we’d love to see you again on Sunday 21st of August.

Annalily & the team of trustees


Wetland Book Launch Wed, 20 Jul 2022 00:26:49 +0000
Waitakere Book Launch of Life in the Shallows – by the National Wetland Trust of New Zealand ceo Karen Denyer on Sunday 24th of July at 10 am. Hot drinks and nibbles will await our guests, before Karen will start her talk about the people, the work and the behind-the-scenes part of this beautiful book on wetlands, written with Monica Peters. This is followed by a Q&A session and the the presentation of a copy of Life in the Shallows to our Matuku  Link trustees for their wetland restoration work. Of course there is an opportunity for your own copy to be signed by Karen!
Matuku Link trustees John Staniland and John Sumich will be giving a guided tour over the wetland parts of the Matuku Link property, where you might even see some of our resident local wetland inhabitants – tuna (eel), pateke (brown teal) or our famous namesake the matuku (bittern).

Limited spaces available – please RSVP to

Matuku Link Wetland Education Centre (aka The Barn)
111 Bethells Road, opposite the Waitakere Valley Fire Station.
Please rsvp to for catering and organisational purposes.

Hope to see you there! – Annalily & the trustees