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The Wetland project

The four-hectare area of land North of the vineyard was once described as "rough pasture with choked and degraded waterways lined with crack willow and other exotic species."  


But amongst that, along one of the waterways were some raupo, pockets of harakeke (lowland flax), tussock sedge (Carex secta), a few cabbage trees and a couple of hardy Pukekos that had taken up residence.  What we saw was a blank canvas and the opportunity to, over time, create an attractive and sustainable wetland and habitat for native freshwater fish and wetland bird species to thrive and breed. A place for people to visit and eventually stay overnight.


With some early encouragement from Forest and Bird and Landcare Research we starting pulling together a master plan. We enrolled Kevin in a horticulture course and Tracy in a wetland monitoring course.  We brought books, we visited wetlands, and talked to as many people as we could to build up our knowledge.  


In 2014 Marlborough District Council designated the site a Significant Natural Area (SNA).  They brought in a ecologist Geoff Walls who reported back...


“The plan put together by the owners for restoration and enhancement of the wetland is visionary, appropriate and well thought out.  It recognises the value of the wetland system and is designed to do minimal damage to the waterways and wet sites.  The proposed ponds are sympathetically designed and should provide additional habitat for wetland birds and plants.  Overall, the plan aims to restore native vegetation over most of the wetland, which would vastly improve its ecological condition and result in a regional showpiece and model for others to follow.”


Then in 2017 we were introduced to Rob from Futurecology who helped us break down our master plan into bite sized chunks. Our action plan was evolving and to achieve our goal without spending a fortune we started the process of growing natives from seed collected from the property or neighbouring farms.


And so our wetland project truly began.   It's a project that is never likely to be 'complete' and will challenge us along the way, but the journey is going to be very rewarding.


Progress Reports


​​April 2024

  • A  reassuring visit from Rob and Jan Fryer from Futurecology " I particularly enjoyed seeing the progress you have made, often the landowner cannot see this as change is incremental but is happening all the time. The bones of a stunning wetland are certainly there with some great establishment already... I really liked seeing the wide leaved Carex growing through the site. Some pocket planting through this will certainly achieve a great deal. I really admire your vision for this site and energy to achieve this."


  • Weed releasing, mowing and managing trial of repurposing vineyard grow guards to support young plants.


May - June 2022

  • Prep sites for planting, weed release around surviving plants, mow and weed wack

  • Plant  580 natives, combination of plants purchased from Morgans Road Nursery and plants grown from seed on site.


August / September/ October 2021

  • Traditionally planting time but time and resource diverted to dealing with flood damage throughout the property.  

  • Just 24 cabbage trees planted thanks our young volunteers Reilly and Louie who also helped make plant guards out of old vine guards. Another repurposing solution for Dayvinleigh Wetland

  • Poa Cita, Carex and Cabbage tree seedings all parked up in Dayvinleigh Garden still growing or waiting to be planted

July 2021

  • Massive rain event floods the wetland.  Took two months before we discovered the footbridge that had been washed away in the neighbours vineyard.  

Jan- March 2021

  • Freddy and Mutton clearing water weed to improve water flow

  • Megan, Westy and the girls, JB, Louie and Nick weeding in the wetland

  • Outward Bound Service Watch overnight visit to weed release

  • SCORE 1 for the pest trap!


Autumn 2020

  • Ongoing weed releasing

  • Sourced wood chip from Marlborough Lines to mulch plants

  • Secured funding through Greening Marlborough 

  • 300 Carex secta and 100 Flax planted, sourced from Morgans Road and Kumanu (Nelmac) Nursery

Summer 2020

  • Manual weed releasing



  • ongoing planting to get another 750 plants in.  50/50 grown from seed/Morgans Road Nursery. 

  • raising seed Cabbage, Kowhai and Flax 

  • Good strike on Cabbage seed, 400 seedlings transplanted into root trainers

  • Purchased trap from Grovetown Lagoon

  • Hillersdon Stream, bazelbark applied to willow, followed by removal by Simcox with support from Delegat.


  • first big planting day of the season, 750 plants in, secret weapon - 6 Fijian guys who came to lend a hand, along with our regular volunteers


  • progress review with Council & Geoff Walls who lasted visited in 2014    "... Much progress has been made in five years.  The newly-created ponds and waterways are sympathetically designed and should provide valuable additional habitat for wetland birds and plants.   The existing plantings are successful and the wetland is starting to reveal itself as a result... "

  • Set up and GPS 6 x photo points

  • planting prep, weeding and mowing, laying out planting areas


  • prepared 1000 root trainers and laid flax seed sourced from property

  • sourced and bundled 5000+ bamboo stakes


  • weed releasing around plants

  • removing weed from waterway and using as mulch around plants

  • Visit from Tom Stein QEII Trust ( in response to feedback from Environment Awards Judges feedback).



  • Judges field visit for Marlborough Environment Awards


  • Entered 2019 Cawthron Marlborough Environment Awards


  • Friends and family support our August Planting bees. We planted 300 Carex secta sourced from Morgans Rd and another 450 flax and Carex plants grown from seed sourced from the property


  • Laid Teuchridium parvifolium, flax, cabbage and kowhai seed collected locally by MDC and supplied to Dayvinleigh



  • Planted 200 Carex grown from seed Block 1B

  • Started propagation of flax, kowhai, cabbage and Teuchridium parvilfolium seed



  • Block 4 tree debris cleared to make way for fencing of waterway

  • Mike from MDC drops off locally sourced seed 

  • 80 manuka plants donated from Rob planted in Block 1


  • Weed spraying, mowing and weed releasing continues


  • Weed releasing and mulching around plants using weed from waterways




  • Signed 3-year Landowner Assistance Programme Agreement with Marlborough District Council under the Marlborough Significant Natural Areas Project


  • Potted up over 1500 seedlings


  • Weed spraying

  • Rob from Futurecology checks in on progress "I was so impressed with what you have achieved with both the planting and the growing of the plants. I might have said it before but the first thing I look for in nursery plants is an even grade. It sounds simple but you guys have nailed it. The plants are even, of good colour and your timing is just perfect."

  • With help from family and friends the first 500 plants go into Block A.  Flax, Cabbage and Toitoi (sourced from Morgans Rd Nursery).

  • 50 Kahikatea plants go into Block A.

  • Gorse sprayed


  • 2.5 days with a digger and waterways excavated

  • Dead Willows in block 4 pushed over


  • Gathered Carex secta seed from the property

  • Set up the greenhouse and start propagating of flax, cabbage, kanuka and Carex

  • Killed Old Mans Beard in Block 4


  • Discovered Urtica perconfusa (swamp nettle) growing in Block 4.  Conservation status 2012 - at risk – declining

  • Identified examples of Melicytus “waipapa” (Porcupine shrub) present on the property.


  • Gathered seed from flax and cabbage trees on the property





  • Put development on hold to resource relocation of infiltration gallery to another part of the property and decommissioned extraction bore from the wetland site.



  • Block 4 aerial sprayed to kill willow

We couldn't do it without the funding, support, encouragement, advice and volunteer labour of...

  • TRC Tourism

  • Outward Bound

  • Marlborough District Council / Greening Marlborough

  • Futurecology

  • NZ Landcare Trust

  • Department of Conservation

  • Fish and Game

  • Lyndy, Freddy & Mutton

  • Vance and Lucy

  • Josie , Nick and Louie

  • Linton, Matt, Hemione, Imogine and Freya

  • Jo and Andy 

  • Taylor and Jade

  • Justine

  • Cathie, Tilly and Alex

  • Andy

  • The Williams West Family

  • Louie and Reilly





as at April 2024



as at April 2024


Plants Planted


Volunteer hours


Pests trapped

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