Physical works have been completed on Motukakaho Island in the Waikato River near Port Waikato aimed at improving the biodiversity and whitebait habitat.

The island, also known as Potter’s Island, is privately owned by the Potter family which has formed a Trust to carry out the restoration work.

Ponds and channels, which allow whitebait to spawn, have been cleared of weeds and opened up to the river current. Motukakaho is one of the larger river islands with an area of approximately 100 hectares.

The restoration work is being project managed by Stu Muir who has already carried out other restoration projects along the river.

He says as well as enhancing what will be extremely valuable whitebait habitat so close to the mouth of the river, work on Motukakaho will offer a chance to reintroduce many of the larger native trees to the river which will in turn provide habitat for many native birds.

Stu Muir says the tree planting and pest eradication is widely supported by the local community which is keen to take part.