Conserving a taonga species and recreation

Oreti Beach, Southland

A visit to Oreti Breach to swim, walk, run the dog, have a blat on a blowcart, or to gather toheroa is an important part of the Southland experience. Toheroa are a prized large ’surf clam’ that is under customary management of the kaitiaki (Māori environmental guardians) from Waihopai Rūnaka around Invercargill.

Each year thousands of motorbikes, cars and utilities are driven up and down Oreti Beach. Ecosystems Consultants is contracted to measure the proportion of the toheroa juveniles, which are buried just under the surface of the sand, that are crushed by these vehicles. We will simulate the effectiveness of various potential vehicle restrictions to ensure that recruitment of the toheroa is not jeopardised. The aim is to protect the toheroa, a ‘taonga’ (treasured species) for Māori, while minimising the impact on recreation and people’s enjoyment of the beach.

  • Oreti Beach, Southland.
  • Burt Munro bike race on the beach.
  • Close up of a Toheroa.
  • Waves.

Environment Southland

Te Ao Mārama, Invercargill City Council, Department of Conservation

Lead contractor:
Te Ao Mārama

Other contributors:
Darren Scott for field work.

Sample publications:

Futter J & Moller H. (2009) Mātauranga, monitoring and management of toheroa (Paphies ventricosa) in Mirihiku. He Kōhinga Rangahau No. 7. 90 pp. University of Otago, Dunedin.

Moller, J.S.; Moller, S.I.; Futter, J.; Moller, J.A.; Harvey, J.; White, H.; Stirling, F.F.; Moller, H. (2009). Potential impacts of vehicle traffic on recruitment of toheroa (Paphies ventricosa) on Oreti Beach, Southland, New Zealand. He Kōhinga Rangahau No. 5. 60 pp. University of Otago, Dunedin.

Scott, D.; Moller, J.S.; Garden, C.; Stirling, F.; Moller, S.; Bartlett, M.; Beentjes, M.P.; Bradley, D.; Larkin, G.; Skerrett, M.; Rajapaksa, G.; Moller, J.A.; Moller, H. (2014) Recreational use of Oreti Beach, Southland, New Zealand, 2010 – 2012. Ecosystems Consultants Report 2014/1.

Moller, J.A.; Garden, C.; Moller, S.I.; Beentjes, M.; Bradley, D.; Skerrett, M.; Scott, D.; Stirling, F.F.; Moller, J.S.; Moller, H. (2014) Impact of vehicles on recruitment of toheroa on Oreti Beach. Ecosystems Consultants Report 2014/2.

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