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In 2004 the Manawatū Estuary Trust supported the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society’s (now Forest and Bird) application to list the Manawatū Estuary under the Ramsar Convention. The Ramsar Convention is a treaty signed by over 150 countries wherein they agree to be part of international cooperation regarding the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.

In July 2005, the Manawatū Estuary was listed under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands as a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar site no. 149).

Achieving Ramsar status was a large step forward in protecting the Manawatū Estuary for the future. At only 200 hectares it is the smallest of Aotearoa New Zealands seven Ramsar sites but is unique in the fact that the townships of Foxton and Foxton Beach are in such close proximity with all the problems that may arise from this.


Manawatū Estuary Management Team (MEMT) meet every six months to discuss various aspects associated with the area. This comprises of representatives from the three statutory agencies, being the Department of Conservation, Horizons Regional Council and Horowhenua District Council, with local iwi, Forest and Bird, and several environmental groups and interested local residents from within the region.


For those wanting to know more about this special place, a number of documents are produced in the form of Estuary Management Plans and Ramsar Site Information Sheets (RIS). Links to these, along with other documents which may be of interest are listed below.


Ramsar Information Sheets (RIS) are published periodically to document changes made to any aspect of the area. Each contain much information about the Estuary and are listed below.


May 2005 The original RIS. 

February 2022 update on Department of Conservation Website. 

April 2023 update on Ramsar Website. 

There have been two complete Management Plans produced and a third

is currently being worked on which will be more comprehensive in

nature. An incomplete attempted at another plan (2013-2023) is also

linked below for reference.

The original 2007-2012 plan is available here.   

A plan was started but remained unfinished. It aimed to cover 2013-2023

is available here for reference only.

The current plan for 2015-2025 is available here. 

A brief introduction to the Manawatū Estuary is given on the Ramsar Information page with additional references to research previously undertaken, and also includes a map.

In addition, a report by the Department of Conservation is submitted to the triennial (three yearly) Conference of Parties (COP), the latest report is attached here.

Each prospective Ramsar wetland site has to fit a set of criteria to be designated and these guidelines are set out in detail in the guide produced by the Department of Conservation in their National Guidelines for the Assessment of Potential Ramsar Wetlands in New Zealand.

More detailed information on Ramsar and its work can be had from their Website.

Information and location, including map, of all seven Ramsar sites in Aotearoa New Zealand can be viewed here. Click on locator tab to see more information on each site.

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Ramsar Monument in the esplanade by the wharf and boating club
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