Wetlands: A Diminishing Resource

Lake Maratoto, Waikato. There are some 23 small peat lakes south of Hamilton, surrounding the Rukuhia and Moanatuatua bogs. Almost all are farmed up to the waters edge. Maratoto is one of the four with a buffer zone of original vegetation around it. It is about 1.6 hectares, and has maintained its size for many thousands of years. Fernbird live in the manuka and wildfowl abound on the water. Peat lakes have great scientific value and they are not infill even when peat builds up around them. Lake Maratoto sediments have yielded very complete records of ash showers over the last 17,000 years. The buffer zone of vegetation and most of the lake are protected by an open space covenant with the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust.