Close together on the scenic route between Manapouri and Riverton lie the Rakatu Wetlands and the Redcliff Wetland Reserve. The Rakatu viewing shelter has two beautifully etched glass windows.
Wetlands are very important areas because they improve water quality, reduce the impact of flooding, support great concentrations of bird life and provide breeding areas for many fish species.
In Aotearoa New Zealand wetlands have a historical importance. Wetlands were a treasure trove for early Maori, providing flax for clothing, mats, kits and ropes, raupo for thatching and dried moss for bedding. The eels, fish and birds which lived there were a good food source and the feathers of birds like pukeko and bittern were used to adorn cloaks and other garments. Waterways were an important means of access by waka (canoe).