Project Title: 2021 Waimā Waitai Waiora Restoring the Wairoa River and its tributaries

Funding Close Date: 30 Nov 2021 (2 months 9 days remaining)



Metres Planted:
3117 m

NZD $24933.35

Location: Wairoa River Catchment and its Tributaries, from the Wairua and Mangakahia, to the Kaipara

GPS Coordinates: -36.036161, 173.940798

Project Cost: NZD $60000

Cost per Metre: NZD $8

Metres to be planted: 7500m

Field Partner: Northland Regional Council

Project ID: NI57

Project Description:


Wow, thanks to all of your donations, we’ve unlocked all $10,000 of match funding! Ka pai! 

A huge thank you to everyone that donated! We really appreciate your support.


We have a new matching opportunity: Thanks to a generous individual donor, all donations to this project will now be matched up to $10,000! 

So, donate today and your impact will be doubled! 


We are back! We are excited to be fundraising to restore the mauri of the Wairoa River and its tributaries for the third year in a row. This project is part of a multi-year effort to improve the quality of water that flows into the Kaipara Moana.

Over the past 2 years, we’ve raised $120,000 to support native planting within the Wairua, Mangakahia, Manganui and Kaihu Catchments, which are all tributaries to the Wairoa River. Other major tributaries include the Tangowahine, Ruawai and Pouto Peninsula all of which flow to meet the Wairoa and then the Kaipara Moana.

Million Metres are one of eight partners within the Waimā Waitai Waiora Partnership with the goal of planting 100,000 native plants and trees annually along streams, rivers and wetlands in the Wairoa catchment for five years.


Thanks to your support, we’ve been able to contribute to a massive restoration effort within the Kaipara catchment.

The Waimā Waitai Waiora Partnership as a whole planted 133,000 plants into the larger Kaipara catchment area during the 2020 planting season. Plants went into 14 different sites around the Kaipara catchment, including Omana, Taipuha, Waiotira, Tangiteroria, Titoki, Pipiwai, Maungatoroto, Wellsford, Tinopai, Pouto and Hukeranui. Approximately 37,000 of these plants were planted along 4,262 m of linear waterway margin across three sites

The partnership used a different model for planting this year, utilising local contractors instead of volunteers. These contractors were hired directly from the Kaipara catchment to ensure that the funds were captured within the community.

Funds raised directly supported 27,000 native seedlings that were planted near Pipiwai by the Te Orewai Te Horo Trust. The trust employed local unemployed whanau to help with this mahi, who also started eco-sourcing seed from within the area for the 2021 planting programme, and for infilling the past year planting projects.

Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group (IKHMG) helped distribute 18,500 plants from the Waimā Waitai Waiora partnership to worthy projects in the lower Kaipara Catchment. The majority of the plants were koha/donated to four tupuna marae. Each marae hosted a working bee type day at each of the sites to extend the on the ground mahi with communities, schools, kaumatua and kuia and Rangatahi. These plants helped to plant over 3,000 m of wetted margin.


In 2019, the partnership got 100,000 trees in the ground within the Wairoa Catchment. Restoration was targeted at high value wetlands and streams throughout the rohe. Amongst, the 100,000 plants, the partnership planted 41,200 plants directly for waterway and wetland protection. Living Water planted 22,250 natives within the Wairua River Catchment and the Mangere Catchment Group planted 1,550 riparian plants. 

In the 2019 planting season the Waimā Waitai Waiora Partnership hosted eight volunteer planting days across the catchment that brought together mana whenua, school children, businesses and landowners. These projects were spread across nine areas including seven farms and three marae, including Akerama marae (Ngāti Hau), Tau Henare marae (Te Orewai) and Ngāraratunua marae (Ngāti Kahu o Torongare).  

What we’re all about

We want to continue making change by …

  • planting native plants and fencing waterways
  • monitoring water quality and taonga species
  • helping land owners protect and clean up waterways
  • restoring our native ecosystems and protecting biodiversity
  • improving habitat for snapper and tuna
  • helping our young people understand challenges and enable them to be part of the solution

… to ensure we are enhancing the mauri of the awa – to protect the many taonga, for the future.

Plans for 2021

This year, we’re crowdfunding to help plant a further 100,000 plants into the Kaipara catchment for the Northern Wairoa and its tributaries. Approximately 17 projects will be going forwards this year, with a mix of planting, fencing, water reticulation and infill planting projects.

This is a collaborative, five-year project with a total budget of nearly $2.5 million. As a result, there are other sources of funds for the planting effort from the Waimā Waitai Wairoa partners. Iwi, hapū and other landowners, and communities are already contributing to this work and will continue to make a huge contribution, volunteering their time during planting days, or taking care of the plants.

The nursery (Ngā Uri o Hau Native Nursery) from which the plants will come from is a Te Uri o Hau initiative to support the vision to achieve a healthy and productive Kaipara Harbour through sustainable riparian planting.

The amazing annual contribution of the low-cost native plants significantly decreases our costs, but we still need funds to get the plants into the ground and maintain them.

We’re raising funds so that we can prepare the sites for planting, the planting itself and maintaining the plantings over time to ensure the trees survive. 15% of the funds raised will go to the Million Metres Streams Project. The team at Million Metres keep the website running, connect projects with funding, resources and people, and share the overall impact of the programme.


The Kaipara is the largest harbour in the southern hemisphere. It is a national taonga for the many cultural, social, ecological and economic values it provides.

Iwi and hapū are spiritually and physically intertwined through whakapapa with the mosaic of rivers that all flow to the Kaipara Moana. As people who actively practice Kaitiakitanga; protecting and enhancing Te mauri o te wai (the life force or life supporting capacity of water), the harbour is critically important to us.

The harbour contains some of the rarest ecosystems in New Zealand – including sand dunes, seagrass beds, and wetlands. It is a nursery for west coast snapper, grey mullet, flounder and other fish. It supports commercial, recreational and customary fisheries, agriculture, industry and tourism.


The mauri of the Kaipara, its ecological health and wellbeing are being degraded and are highly influenced by the catchments of the Wairoa River (which is the source of 70% of the sediment (eroded soil) flowing into the harbour).

The Wairoa River is the main river flowing into the Kaipara from the north, fed by the Wairua, Kaihu and Mangakahia rivers. It is the longest river in the Northland region and its catchment is vast (382,000 hectares). Today, 68% of the catchment is in pastoral farming, and 32% is in exotic forestry or shrubland and native bush.

Historic deforestation in the catchment, unfenced streams and rivers, and the draining of wetlands have all led to erosion issues, and high levels of sediment and contamination in the Wairoa River catchments and ultimately to the Kaipara harbour.

These water quality issues impact the health of our taonga species including tuna, kēwai, kākahi, inanga and other fish in the catchment. They impact the habitat for Great White and Hammerhead sharks, stingray and snapper in the Kaipara Harbour. They also impact on kai moana beds, including pipis, scallops, mussels, oysters and more. They affect people and their ability to fish, gather food and make a living, and many places in the lower catchment are unsafe to swim after heavy rain due to faecal contamination.


Our rivers and harbour are dying; it is imperative we act now. We are people from your community who are working to improve the mauri of all the rivers across Northland flowing into the Kaipara Harbour. We are the land and the land is us. We are the river and the river is us. We are working together to lead change that is much bigger than all of us.

We are learning from the past and we know that new and transformative practices are needed to make genuine change that will positively impact the health of our awa. We are bringing together two world views and challenging people’s thinking to find creative solutions that work for today – and tomorrow – within the values of kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga, whanaungatanga and aroha. 

Through Waimā Waitai Waiora, we are lending our voices to the land and the river. They need your voices too, if they are to be heard. Just as all the tributaries flow together from across Northland to contribute to the Mangakahia, the Wairua, the Northern Wairoa and Kaipara Harbour, so must we flow together, lending our mana and mauri, to contribute to the success of this mahi.

Our land and our rivers need the support of land owners, iwi, children, whanau, business, hapū, fishermen, government, parents, farmers, teachers… everyone, if they are to survive. Join us in helping to protect the future of our children. To our next generation we say “we will not let you inherit our failings. We are working together to change our world and protect your future”.

The Waimā Waitai Waiora project partners include:

  • Ngā Kaitiaki o Ngā Wai Māori (made up of 7 hapū from the Wairua catchment)
  • Te Roroa
  • Te Uri o Hau
  • Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group
  • Reconnecting Northland
  • Living Water (DOC and Fonterra Partnership)
  • Northland Regional Council
  • Million Metres of the Sustainable Business Network


We invite you to join us in this multi-year effort to restore the mauri of the Kaipara and its catchment. It will take all of us working together to achieve our goals. You can support us by making a donation today. Any amount, big or small, makes a difference.