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Time to check how Inanga are spawning

Friday 8 April, 2022

Dedicated teams are out checking streams around Tairāwhiti as they come alive with fish laying their eggs.

Council increases its monitoring of streams around autumn as it’s the best time to check on inanga and their spawning success rate.

Inanga is a native fish that’s one of five whitebait species in New Zealand.

“They play an incredibly important role in our ecosystem,” says Council environmental scientist and inanga habitat restoration project manager Olivia Steven.

Rongowhaakata Iwi Trust and Tairāwhiti Environment Centre’s Katie Foxley are contracted to do the monitoring for Council.

It’s a task that must be done on king tides after the full moon as this is the only time during the month when inanga spawn.

“Inanga lay their eggs all year round, but autumn is the best time of year to check,” says Ms Steven.

The eggs can be found in long grass along the stream banks where the saltwater meets the freshwater, this area is known as the ‘saltwater wedge’.

Artificial habitats are also used to assist monitoring on stream banks that don’t have suitable habitats for spawning. These are created using coconut matting, meadow hay and flax to make a long roll that gets staked to the side of the stream.

Fish swim up and lay their eggs in these artificial habitats. They are then checked to see if eggs have been laid and then re-visited after a month to make sure the eggs are still there as rats, floods or sediment are their biggest risks.

To find out more about this work see Council’s website and visit the Inanga spawning programme page.

INANGA ROE: Tairāwhiti Environment Centre manager Rena Kohere checks artificial habitats for inanga eggs at one of the many rivers in our region.

Inanga eggs artificial haitat

TEC manager Rena Kohere