Dragonfly Springs Wetland Sanctuary was started by Jeremy Busck in 2007. He and wife, Pam had just completed an upgrade to their house which overlooked the swamp when they learned developers were planning a 73-house subdivision on the wetland. The opportunity to purchase the land arose in the late 1990s and the couple bought the swamp overrun with pest plants and filled with rubbish, to hold as a wetland sanctuary. Keen believers in storm water cleansing, they wanted to show local and central government the importance of storm water management and chose to lead by example. The Busck’s have extraordinary community goodwill behind them.

With much assistance from volunteers, supporters, and local businesses, Jeremy began the enormous task of restoring and preserving the wetlands. He has brought Dragonfly Springs back up to a fully functioning natural wetland. Corporate funding hasn’t been available, but passion has, in spades. That passion has been used to plant the sanctuary with 50,000 native trees and 6,000 reeds, collect rubbish, build facilities, construct pollutant and pest traps, and assist local council with drainage from neighbouring floodplains.

“The disregard of nature’s plan has a price,” says Jeremy. “Nature knows what is best, and a concerted effort by every New Zealander is required to restore our ecosystem. It’s important to undo the damage mankind has done to nature, and to start by building lots of wetlands. Historically, the Northland landscape was dotted with wetlands but more than 96% have been drained in the service of farming.

We can make a difference and return nature to what it was with a little bit of education and effort.”

Education comes in many guises at Dragonfly Springs. Tours for schools, kindergartens, curious adults, environmental scientists, and more, all delivered from intimate knowledge of local history and how waterways affect the environment from the street drain to the ocean, how water is captured, and where the rubbish goes. You can learn about native trees, wetland wildlife, many species of fungi and how Dragonfly Springs contributes to the health of Whangarei Harbour.