Collaborating to grow our impact

17 May 2018 by The Million Metres team Auckland Council Northland

Waterway pollution is a big problem in New Zealand. We are going to have to work at a large scale to tackle it.

Million Metres is playing a growing role in some of New Zealand’s largest freshwater restoration projects. The Northern Wairoa project is a great example.

Last year, the Government’s $100 million Freshwater Improvement Fund (FIF) committed $47 million to 34 large projects. The Northern Wairoa is one of three FIF projects that Million Metres is supporting.

Million Metres will be helping to fund the planting of half a million native plants and trees over five years. This will mean raising $300,000 for the Northern Wairoa by 2022.

This project is a collaboration between mana whenua, business, government, the local community and Million Metres. 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, the Department of Conservation and Fonterra Living Water Partnership, Reconnecting Northland and other project partners. Over five years, $3 million will go towards restoring the Northern Wairoa catchment.

In addition to planting, project goals include working with mana whenua and landowners to incorporate Mātauranga Māori (indigenous knowledge) alongside good farming and forestry principles and restoration practice. They also include completing 180 farm environment plans, assisting with fencing and setting up new freshwater monitoring sites.

The Kaipara is the largest harbour in the southern hemisphere. It is a national taonga and Mana whenua are spiritually and physically intertwined with the Kaipara.

The health of the Kaipara has been degrading over the years. One of the biggest issues is the high amount of sediment flowing into the harbour from the Northern Wairoa River.

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.

Sediment smothers Kai moana beds, including pipis, scallops, mussels and oysters with thick layers of mud. This is affecting people and their ability to fish, gather food and make a living.

Georgina Hart, Million Metres Project Lead, said: “The scale of the sediment issue in the Kaipara is massive. The only way we are going to make a difference is if we get everyone on board and work collaboratively. This is going to be the same for restoring harbours and waterways up and down the country.”  

A fundraiser for the first stage of planting along the Northern Wairoa is now live on Million Metres. The goal is to raise $60,000 that will help to plant 100,000 plants and trees in 2019.

That’s 15,000 kms of waterway! Click here to learn more and donate today.