Waikanae Estuary Exhibition at Paraparaumu Library from 19 to 29 August 2014

KCPS decided in 2013 that a photographic project focusing on the Waikanae Estuary would be a good way to show people some of the many aspects of the area and its inhabitants, and also publicise and support the work of the Waikanae Estuary Care Group. Our members have a wide range of photographic interests including landscapes, wildlife, plants and people. Seventeen photographers presented their results in this exhibition of 57 prints – some have taken a pictorial approach, others a more documentary focus.

A slideshow of the images is shown below – but for best effect people saw the beautiful mounted prints in the Roderick and Gillian Deane Community Art Space at the Paraparaumu Library, from 19 to 29 August 2014.  The Exhibition was officially opened by the Mayor of KCDC, Ross Church, at a function to which all KCPS members were invited, at 5 pm on Monday 18 August.

A five minute AV of the images is also available on YouTube here.

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Introduction to the Estuary

At Waikanae Estuary freshwater from the Tararua Ranges meets the saltwater of the Kapiti coast. This mixing of the waters and the ever-shifting river mouth create an environment of rich plant and animal communities. The estuary is made up of a mosaic of freshwater lakelets, saltwater lagoons and marshes, tidal sand flats, dunes and a sandy beach.

Fauna and Flora

More species of coastal and aquatic birds visit Waikanae Estuary than any other site on the Wellington coast. Over 60 species of birds breed at the Estuary, including banded dotterel, variable oystercatcher, pukeko and dabchick. Visiting birds include royal spoonbills, wrybills, black-fronted terns, and godwits. Carpets of remuremu grow in the firm mud along the estuary, and there are two regionally rare carex species.


Middens, observation posts, pa and burial grounds are reminders of early Maori who moved through the area. The estuary is the site of the 1839 Battle of Kuititanga where Te Ati Awa, who had established pa on both sides of the estuary, fought Ngati Raukawa, forcing them to flee to Otaki. The area is sacred to the people of Te Ati Awa ki Whakarongotai who are tangata whenua of this area. In the 1880s the Manawatu Railway opened up the coast to more European settlement. Coastal forest was removed for flax mills and farming, causing erosion. Since then housing, gravel extraction, flood protection, stormwater and industrial discharges have further reduced the power of the river. Since the 1960s, the land around the estuary has been transformed from a coastal wilderness to a densely populated urban area.


Conservationists led by Sir Charles Fleming helped to establish the Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve in 1987 to protect the remaining area. In the 1990s, however, subdivisions crept closer to the estuary, increasing the threats to wildlife. The Department of Conservation has embarked on an ecological restoration project for the estuary, complemented by work being done by the Waikanae Estuary Care Group.

Further information is available at www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-visit/wellington-kapiti/kapiti/waikanae-estuary-scientific-reserve

What are the photographic attractions of the estuary?

Club members told us:

  • Early morning walks round the lagoons with the dog
  • It’s a paradise for birdwatchers, with graceful birds such as the heron and swans
  • It’s good to see the black-fronted terns that come up from the South Island
  • The lagoons are a beautiful feature, and Kapiti Island always there as a backdrop
  • The subtle colours of dawn over the hills, and brilliant sunsets beyond the island
  • The patterns of the beach sand create a textured effect stretching into the distance, and the wet beach reflects the sky
  • Kapiti Island is often the focal point as we look west in the evening, its shape a familiar silhouette as the sun sinks behind it
  • The wetland area is a haven for so many different interesting birds – very special for me
  • Shags on driftwood in the river, drying their wings, competing to be king
  • Good to see people out and about, walking or cycling, using the tracks and boardwalk, or riding on the beach
  • The drama of moving sands in high winds
  • The fun people had last summer building and decorating a driftwood structure on the beach at the edge of the estuary, then rebuilding after (several) storms
  • The work being done by the Estuary Care Group is amazing – growing seedlings, planting, weeding – it’s good that locals can work with DOC and KCDC on this
  • I enjoy exploring the paths and seeing the regenerating native plants – the DOC signboards have interesting information as well as maps of the area
  • The changing colours of vegetation and water, over the seasons, at different times of day, and in different weather
  • The estuary got even more interesting as I learned more about the area and history.


If you wish to buy any of the pictures (except those shown NFS), please contact the club by email at kapiticoastphotosoc@gmail.com. Prices mounted $100.00, unmounted $50.00, plus $10 if delivered. Single images from the pairs are also available, unmounted.

A donation will be made to the Waikanae Estuary Care Group from sales proceeds.

Catalogue Thumbnails

Text Catalogue

Catalogue Number Title Photographer
1 Setting the Hinaki Adrienne Dale
2 Whitebaiting Roger Smith
3 Estuary Driftwood Rhonda Billington
4 Summer at the Beach Alison Viskovic
5 Kite Flying Carol Molineux, Roger Smith
6 Doll on the Beach Neil Gordon
7 One Man and his Dog Martin Manning
8 Riding (NFS) and Cycling Helen Moore, Neil Gordon
9 Estuary Walkers Alison Viskovic
10 Estuary Signposts Gary Moncrieff, Alison Viskovic
11 Conservation Work Alison Viskovic
12 Waikanae Estuary Care Group Workers Alison Viskovic
13 Problems: Rubbish and a Rabbit Neil Gordon, Carol Molineux, Gavin Klee, Scott Stevenson
14 Problems: Weeds in the Estuary Alison Viskovic
15 Estuary Vegetation I Alison Viskovic
16 Estuary Vegetation II Alison Viskovic
17 Views from Estuary to Mt Kapakapanui Colin McKenzie
18 Autumn Evening Alison Viskovic
19 Otaihanga Boardwalk Colin McKenzie
20 Waikanae Estuary Wetland Roger Smith
21 An Evening Palette Hugh Scott
22 Orange Sundown Peter Beddek
23 Evening Outflow Hugh Scott
24 Estuarine Colours Peter Beddek
25 Waikanae Estuary Dawn Reflective Peter Beddek
26 Kapiti Dawn Barry Culling
27 Driftwood Haven – A Teenage Installation Roger Smith
28 Morning Light Gavin Klee
29 Beach Flight Gavin Klee
30 Karuhiruhi / Pied Shags Carol Molineux
31 Kotare / Kingfisher Gavin Klee
32 Move Over Neil Gordon
33 Elegant Curves in Motion Teresa Angell
34 Matuku / Bittern Roger Smith
35 Karuhiruhi / Shag with Nesting Material Carol Molineux
36 Poaka / Pied Stilt Gavin Klee
37 Matuku-moana / White-faced Heron Gavin Klee
38 Interactions Teresa Angell, Gavin Klee
39 Torea-Pango / Oystercatcher Carol Molineux
40 Kotuku / Heron Gavin Klee
41 Pukeko Carol Molineux
42 Karuhiruhi / Pied Shag with Fish Gavin Klee
43 Kotuku-nutupapa / Spoonbill Alights Gavin Klee
44 Kotuku-nutupapa / Spoonbill with Flounder Carol Molineux
45 Kuaka / Godwit Gavin Klee
46 Skylark (introduced, no Maori name) Gavin Klee
47 Ngutu-parore / Wrybill Gavin Klee
48 Matata /Fernbird I Gavin Klee
49 Pheasant (introduced, no Maori name) Roger Smith
50 Tuturiwhatu / Banded Dotterel Gavin Klee
51 Oystercatchers Mating and with Young Teresa Angell, Gavin Klee
52 Matata / Fernbird II Carol Molineux
53 Babies: Tara / White-fronted Tern, Torea-Pango, Tuturiwhatu Carol Molineux, Gavin Klee
54 Estuary Plants Carol Molineux, Adrienne Dale, Hugh Scott
55 Estuary Creatures Carol Molineux
56 Web and Spider Scott Stevenson, Carol Molineux
57 Wind Dance Hal Gimpelson

7 thoughts on “Waikanae Estuary Exhibition at Paraparaumu Library from 19 to 29 August 2014”

  1. Some fantastic images – I will certainly be going along to the exhibition (with my cheque book)!

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