Ngāti Wheke announces funding for Whakaraupō īnaka study

Whitebait spawning in Whakaraupō | Lyttelton Harbour has been given a boost thanks to funding to Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke from the Department of Conservation’s Community Fund | Pūtea Tautiaki Hapori.

Improve spawning habitat and sustain populations

Īnaka ki Whakaraupō is an investigation into īnaka | whitebait spawning habitat at the head of Whakaraupō | Lyttelton Harbour.

The comprehensive year-long study will partner Ngāti Wheke with EOS Ecology and the Marine Ecology Research Group at the University of Canterbury.

Īnaka are an important mahinga kai species for Ngāti Wheke as well as being a key part of the Harbour’s ecosystem.

Understanding where īnaka spawn in this area and improving their spawning habitat will help to sustain populations of whitebait for generations to come.

Increasing mahinga kai in Whakaraupō

The study is part of the Head of the Harbour project, an element of our Catchment Management Plan that focuses on reducing sediment and increasing mahinga kai in Whakaraupō and its catchments.

Ideal īnaka spawning habitat occurs in lowland tidal streams. Streams flowing into the saltmarsh and mudflats in the head of the harbour from Allandale to Moepuku Peninsula are the focus area for the study.

Ngāti Wheke and partners are looking forward to working with landowners whose property borders these streams to share information, help with observations, and discover ways to enhance īnaka and other fish habitat.

A funding announcement was to be made at Rāpaki in August, at the Aoraki Conservation Board Awards, but this event was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Learn more

For further information about Īnaka ki Whakaraupō, contact Kathryn Bates: