Project Title: Mangapapa Stream Planting at Ratahiwi Farm



Metres Planted:
1967 m

Volunteer Hours:

Location: Papatawa, Manawatu River Catchment

GPS Coordinates: -40.27747, 175.86753

Project Cost: NZD $28519.5

Cost per Metre: NZD $14.5

Metres to be planted: 1900m

Field Partner: Queen Elizabeth II National Trust

Project ID: NI11

Project Description:

The Manawatu River catchment

The Manawatu River starts in the Ruahine Ranges, runs through the Tararua District of the lower North Island and ends its journey at the Tasman Sea near Foxton. It is one of the greatest flows of water in the North Island, second only to the mighty Waikato.

The river is fed from a rich farming region. This area is vital to the livelihoods of thousands of Kiwi families. But the population has increased. Industry and farming has intensified. The river has suffered. Now only 4% of the original forest cover and 3% of the original wetlands remain.

In 2010, the members of the Manawatu River Leaders’ Forum began a new drive to restore the river’s health. The Forum includes leaders from universities, councils, conservation groups and local iwi.

National government, local councils, landowners and Dairy NZ have contributed millions of dollars to projects in the catchment. This has funded stream fencing and riparian planting, habitat restoration, community projects, farm management plans and sewage treatment plant upgrades in the area.

But there is still much more to do to restore the health of the river. You can be part of this effort.

The Mangapapa Stream project


My name is Stuart Ellingham. I grew up on a family farm near Dannevirke and have been farming my whole life. I have always been interested in the environment and created one of the first farm environmental plans with the Regional Council in the Tararua District back in 1996.  

I now run Horizon Farming Limited, a farming business based in the Hawkes Bay. We own and manage the Ratahiwi Farm – an 800 hectare sheep and beef enterprise – and five other farm blocks in the region.

The Mangapapa stream flows through Ratahiwi farm. It is a special stream. It is a tributary to the Manawatu and provides drinking water to the small town of Woodville.

We are always looking to improve the land we manage. We have already protected 17.5 hectares of bush on Ratahiwi farm with two Queen Elizabeth II National Trust covenants. We continued work initiated by the previous owners with the regional and district councils to fence all of the banks of the stream on the property.

We are not the only ones working to restore this tributary, and it’s starting to work. Mangapapa stream was recognised at the 2015 New Zealand River Awards as the second most improved waterway for nitrogen pollution over the previous decade. But that’s just the beginning.

Mangapapa stream looks picturesque in the photos, but its banks are bare of native plants and trees. We need these plants and trees to keep the water clean and healthy. That’s what will bring this stream back to life. We want to see it sheltered by cabbage trees, manuka and five finger and teeming with insects, birds and fish.

That’s why we’ve joined up with the National Trust and Million Metres to fundraise for this project. With your support we will plant 1,900 metres of the stream with 4,500 native plants and trees.

Our partners 

We worked with the National Trust to develop a great planting plan for the project. This is the National Trust’s fifth project with Million Metres and their second along the Manawatu. We are all making sure that the plants and trees we put in will be around for years and years to come. The project is also protected by an Open Space Covenant. This means the folks from the National Trust will keep an eye on things long after the project is finished.

Horizons Regional Council is also committed to working with us. For them it’s a great opportunity to support native birds and fish and improve water quality in the catchment.

The plants are being supplied locally by Woodville’s Coppermine native plant nursery. This means the project will put money in local pockets too. 

With your help we will restore our waterways

We hope you’ll join us to restore the Managapapa stream for generations to come. Please take the opportunity to donate to this project today.    

The funds raised for this project will cover the cost of the plants, preparation of the site and planting. They will ensure the plants get off to a good start and are well cared for. The funds will also include a small donation to AWA Transmedia Studio for the development of the crowdfunding video.

Donors will receive updates on the progress of the project. 

We will double your donation!

We love farming and the environment and we know the two can coexist. We will match every donation to this project dollar for dollar.

For every dollar invested in this project, we will invest a dollar in a planting project on another of our farms in the area. 

Thanks to our project supporters!

We would like to thank the following organisations that have some great passionate people who have been working hard to make this project happen: Queen Elizabeth II National Trust, Million Metres Streams Project and Horizons Regional Council. It is fantastic to work with positive people who have a common goal.

Thank you to AWA Transmedia Studio for working with us to create the crowdfunding video for this project. 

AWA promotes positive community projects within the Hawke’s Bay community with a focus on Aroha, Whanau and Awhinatanga (Love, Family and Community Support).


Progress Photos: