Project Title: Restoring the Northern Wairoa River and its catchment

Funding Close Date: 15 Mar 2019



Metres Planted:
15005 m

NZD $60000

Location: Northern Wairoa River Catchment

GPS Coordinates: -35.918176, 173.918540

Project Cost: NZD $60000

Cost per Metre: NZD $4

Metres to be planted: 15000m

Field Partner: Northland Regional Council

Project ID: NI24

Project Description:


A huge thank you to the Million Metres Cycle Ride team!  Ethan, Daimen, Cory, James, David, Alex, Frikkie, Jenny, Axel and Sam teamed up to collectively cycle a million metres in the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge in November 2018.

They smashed their goal, cycling 1,080,000 metres and raising $5,000 for the Northern Wairoa River and its catchment.

Thank you so much for your fundraising and cycling efforts team! And thanks to Ockham Residential and all of the individual donors that supported the team and the Northen Wairoa project.  


A very generous individual has agreed to match all donations to this project up to $20,000! This is an amazing boost to our fundraiser!  When you donate $4 or 1 metre that is now a donation of $8 and 2 metres of restoration. 

Help us unlock these matching funds by making a donation today! 


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. Mana whenua are spiritually and physically intertwined with the Kaipara. As Kaitiaki of the Kaipara, protecting and enhancing its mauri (life force or life supporting capacity) is critically important.

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, and its ecological health and wellbeing are being degraded and highly influenced by the Northern Wairoa River and its catchment (source of 70% of the sediment (eroded soil) flowing into the harbour).

The Northern Wairoa River is the main river flowing into the Kaipara from the north. 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 Northern Wairoa River and ultimately to the Kaipara harbour.

These water quality issues impact the health of tuna, inanga and other fish in the Northern Wairoa River. They impact the habitat for Great White and Hammerhead sharks, stingray and snapper in the Kaipara. 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.


In 2017, a group of mana whenua, community organisations, NGOs and government agencies that care about the Kaipara came together with a common vision for a healthier and more productive catchment and harbour.

We all want healthy land, water and people, elevated mauri, abundant kai and productive land in the Kaipara. This project is a collaborative effort that draws on the experience and knowledge of the project partners:

  • Ngā Kaitiaki o Ngā Wai Māori

  • Te Roroa

  • Te Uri o Hau

  • Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group

  • Reconnecting Northland

  • DOC and Fonterra Living Water Partnership

  • Northland Regional Council

  • Manaaki Whenua (Landcare Research)

  • Sustainable Business Network’s Million Metres Streams Project


To improve the mauri of the Kaipara, we’re working together to reduce sediment and improve water quality in the Northern Wairoa River and its catchment. Together we developed a Northern Wairoa Freshwater Improvement project and we were successful in receiving funding from the Ministry for the Environment’s Freshwater Improvement Fund.

Over the next five years we will:

  • Work with mana whenua and landowners to incorporate Mātauranga Māori (indigenous knowledge) alongside good farming and forestry principles and restoration practice.

  • Complete at least 180 farm environment plans with landowners to identify, prioritise and adopt sustainable land management practices on their farms.

  • Provide subsidies to landowners to assist with fencing, planting, stock water reticulation and wetland enhancement.

  • Target our efforts on the highly erodible land in the catchment.

  • Set up new freshwater quality monitoring sites in the catchment.


A key part of this project is riparian planting. Our goal is to plant 100,000 native plants and trees annually along streams, rivers and wetlands in the Northern Wairoa catchment for five years. We’re crowdfunding now so that we can plant lots of trees in 2019 and beyond.

We will plant the native trees where they matter most. Planting along waterways helps to stabilise stream banks and decreases the sediment (eroded soil) entering the waterways. Eventually, the plants will grow up and shade the water, lowering water temperatures and providing habitat and food for native birds and fish. Bringing back wetlands means they can filter nutrients and sediment and keep them out of the river and the harbour below.


Te Ārai Native Nursery, the Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group and Reconnecting Northland are providing the plants for the project. This generous contribution of 100,000 native plants annually significantly decreases our costs, but we still need funds to get the plants in the ground and take care of 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. Funds could also go towards coordinating the planting effort or monitoring our impact. 15% of the funds raised will go to Million Metres for the administration and maintenance of the website and help with the fundraiser.


The amazing annual contribution of 100,000 native plants is a big part of it.

This is also a collaborative, five-year project with a total budget of nearly $3 million. As a result, there are other sources of funds for the planting effort, including funding from the Ministry for Environment Freshwater Improvement Fund, Northland Regional Council, DOC and Fonterra Living Water Partnership, Reconnecting Northland and other project partners.

Finally, mana whenua, 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, etc.


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.


The Te Ārai Native Nursery is a Te Uri o Hau initiative to support the Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group in its vision to achieve a healthy and productive Kaipara Harbour. The nursery is a not for profit organisation that was established with the help of funding grants from Lotteries NZ and Reconnecting Northland.

The nursery provides plants to conservation groups and landowners for conservation and riparian planting within the Kaipara catchment. The provision of plants helps to subsidise the cost of planting that provides a greater community good, not just benefits to the landowner.


Thank you to Living Water, Ngā Kaitiaki o Ngā Wai Māori, and Northland Regional Council for the photos used to create this page. Photos cannot be used without their permission.