Pelorus Ecological District


Last Modified: 18-9-2023 20:32

Wakamarina River - Pelorus Ecological District
Wakamarina River - Pelorus Ecological District
The Pelorus Ecological District has some of the richest biodiversity in Marlborough
© Christopher Cookson  License this image

The Pelorus Ecological District includes the inland hill and mountain country of the Te Hoire/Pelorus catchment, including its tributaries, the Wakamarina, Rai, Opouri, Ronga, and Tinline Rivers. It has some of the richest biodiversity of any ecological district in Marlborough.


In the north west, rocks are predominantly sedimentary greywacke and argilite, while in the south east, metamorphic schist predominates. Parts of the district in Nelson’s mineral belt along the Bryant Range and Dun Mountain include gold and copper deposits, and outcrops of metasomatised argilite.


The valleys tend to be cool and wet with frequent fogs and frosts in winter, while intermediate altitudes are milder, with temperatures decreasing again in alpine areas. Rainfall is relatively high between 1600-2000mm annually, and nor’west winds prevail.

Indigenous Biodiversity

The Pelorus Ecological District is ecologically significant with some of the richest biodiversity in Marlborough, with much of the district remaining in indigenous vegetation cover, and over 760 indigenous species identified in the district.

Given the sheer number of species, the lists below are not comprehensive, but give some idea of the biodiversity.


In valleys and on lower slopes mixed podocarp and beech forest predominates, with red beech, hard beech, silver beech, and mountain beech dominating up to the bushline. On ridges below the bushline, cloud forests with a wide range of epiphytic species including lichens, mosses, ferns, and orchids can be found on trees. Above the bushline, shrublands, alpine grasslands, herb fields and scree plants can be found in different parts of the district. Significant areas of valley floors have been cleared for agriculture, and weed species such as gorse and broom are widespread. A few remnants of lowland forest remain, such as at Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve.


Rimu, Tawa, Kahikatea, Matai, Miro, Tōtara, Black Beech, Red Beech, Hard Beech, Lowland Ribbonwood, Titoki, Tawa, Kānuka, Tarata (Lemonwood), Raukawa, Kōhūhū


Crown Fern, Whekī-Ponga, Drooping Filmy Fern, Silver Fern, Crepe Fern, Drooping Spleenwort, Hound’s Tongue Fern, Kātote, Hen and Chickens Fern, Strap Fern, Leather Leaf Fern, Necklace Fern, Small Kiokio, Button Fern, Mountain Tree Fern, Ring Fern, Parsley Fern, Common Strap Fern, Mātā, Hooker’s Spleenwort, Common Pig Fern, Kiwakiwa, Gully Fern, Bracken, Cloak Fern, Kidney Fern, Fragrant Fern, Thread Fern, Mamaku


Caladenia nothofageti, Green Bird Orchid, Pterostylis irsoniana, Spurred Helmet Orchid, Tutukiwi, Mountain Caps Orchid, Maikaika, New Zealand Spider-Orchid, Fleshy Tree Orchid, Easter Orchid, Greenhood Orchid, Common Sun Orchid, Slender Forest Orchid, Dancing Spider Orchid, Corybas trilobus, New Zealand Horned Orchid, Slender Sun-Orchid, Hatch's Thelymitra,

Alpine and scree plants

Mountain Daisy, Sticky Mountain Daisy, Cotton Daisy, North Island Edelweiss, Brachyglottis lagopus, Euphrasia monroi,Notothlaspi australe, Celmisia allanii, Haastia pulvinaris, Raoulia bryoides, Large-flowered Mat Daisy, New Zealand Everlastingflower, Penwiper, Brachyglottis bellidioides, White Cushion Mountain Daisy, Pimelea oreophila, Colobanthus acicularis



Fantail, South Island Robin,Tūī, Kārearea, Kerurū, Korimako (Bellbird), Tauhou (Silvereye), Tomtit, Pūtangitangi (Paradise Duck), Tītipounamu (Rifleman), Kawaupaka (Little Shag), Ruru (Morepork), Weka, Sacred Kingfisher, Pūkeko, Riroriro (Grey Warbler), Pīpīwharauroa (Shining Cuckoo), Warou (Welcome Swallow)


Elephant Weevil, Petrotettix nigripes, Talitropsis sedilotl, Hrelophus walkeri, Wellington Tree Wētā, Bachaspis collinus, Kanuka Looper, Shining Scoparia, Fungus Gnats, Scree Wētā, Migratory Locust, Ulstracoelostoma, Black Mountain Ringlet, Magpie Moth, NZ Glowworm, Chorus Cicada, Shore Flies, Kānuka Longhorn, Pterophorus innotatalis, Common Tiger Beetle.


Pekapaka Touroa (NZ Longtailed Bat)


Powelliphanta hochstetteri, Pseudaneitea, Thalassohelix zelandiae


Gobiomorphus, New Zealand Longfin Eel, Short-finned Eel, Dwarf Galaxias


Werewere-Kokako (Entoloma hochstetteri), Turkey-Tail, Earthstars, Scarlet Pouch, Nidula, Pixie Cup Lichens, Puapua-a-Autahi, Lilac Coral Fungus, Yarrumia colensoi, Southern False Morel, Robust Bracket

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Cite this page

Cookson, C. (2023). Pelorus Ecological District. Retrieved April, 24, 2024, from