River of the Month

The River of the Month series profiles the work of many groups who work together to improve important waterways in the regions throughout New Zealand.  LAWA kindly acknowledges the support of the Tindall Foundation for the River of the Month videos.

September 2016 - LAWA River of the Month: Summary of series

Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) connects you with the environment by sharing local stories and scientific information.  LAWA’s River of the Month videos profile the work of some of New Zealand’s River and Lake Heroes. See how local groups are working together to protect and restore waterways in their regions.


August 2016 - Lake Humuhumu, Northland

At 138ha and 16m deep Lake Humuhumu is one of the largest dune lakes on the Poutō peninsula.
It’s diverse range of native flora and fauna, lack of pest species and good water quality make Lake Humuhumu one of Northlands outstanding lakes.

Appreciation and work by local people supported by councils and doc are helping to protect and enhance this amazing part of New Zealand.


July 2016 - Te Arai Te Uru awa (river), Gisborne

Te Arai Te Uru awa (river) is one of our regions’ most ecologically significant waterbodies. Council, Landowners, and Rongowhakaata iwi have been working together on a range of restoration projects focussed on habitat enhancement for our native fish.


June 2016 - The Araparera River, Auckland

The Araparera Catchment in Auckland drains into the southern arm of the Kaipara Harbour. Local Streamland Suffolks famers, Sue Meszaros and Karyn Maddren, lead a number of initiatives focusing on the protection and restoration of this waterway.



May 2016 - The Waingongoro River, Taranaki

The Waingongoro River in Taranaki is a highly valued and an important resource. In recent years there have been improvements in both the water quality and biodiversity of this river. This has come about as a result of councils, iwi, rural communities, farmers and industries working together to improve this waterway.


April 2016 - Lake Brunner, West Coast

Work began in the early 2000’s to address the increases in nutrients (phosphorus) in Lake Brunner. Through various methods including voluntary farm plans, community planting and improved on farm management of nutrients the community have achieved the water quality target.


March 2016 - The Nukuhou River, Bay of Plenty

The Nukuhou River which flows into the Ōhiwa Harbour between Whakatāne and Ōpōtiki. A partnership involving the regional and district councils, Iwi, Department of Conservation, Farmers and Community members have been working towards improving this waterway. Restoration of this river has focused on improving the biodiversity, water quality and recreational appeal. This waterway won the Morgan Foundation Award for the 'Most Improved River' in the Bay of Plenty in terms of improved nitrogen levels in 2015. 


February 2016 - Grovetown Lagoon, Marlborough

The Grovetown Lagoon is one of the largest remaining areas of natural value on the Wairau Plain, with areas of open water, swampy ground, springs and adjoining land. It is highly valued by local iwi as a resource for food and plant materials, but has been degraded and altered over time. A project aimed at restoring the Grovetown Lagoon was initiated in 2002. 


January 2016 - Karamū Stream, Hawke's Bay

The Karamū Stream is a gently flowing waterway with areas of public reserve which has become a popular public recreational area. The river not only drains water from nearby horticultural land but it also carries the bulk of Hastings' storm water. This area, with the support of local councils, has had community involvement since 1997 to restore the waterways and natural environment.


The Puniu River, Waikato

The Puniu River is in Waikato in New Zealand's North Island. Local communities under the Puniu River Care Project initiative along with Sustainable Coastlines are working together to restore this waterway.


The Clarence/Waiau Toa River, Canterbury

The South Island’s Clarence/Waiau Toa River is one of the great iconic wilderness rivers of New Zealand. Set in a rugged and remote landscape, it is a special waterway with ‘high naturalness’ values, and is recognized as such in the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan.


The Waiwhetu Stream, Wellington

The Waiwhetu Stream flows along the foot of the eastern hills of Lower Hutt. The Friends of the Waiwhetu Stream community group with support from councils are working on the restoration of this waterway, and it has come a long way from once being known as 'the most contaminated stream in New Zealand'.


The Waikouaiti River catchment, Otago

The Waikouaiti River catchment covers 425km and flows into the Pacific Ocean at Karitane just north of Dunedin. 


The Waimea Stream, Southland

Groundwater quality and the effects of that on the Waimea stream is the subject of the Balfour Groundwater Project group and their work has been highlighted in a feature ‘River of the Month’ video on the LAWA website.


The Oroua River, Manawatu

The Oroua River is a major tributary of the Manawatu River and flows through prime agricultural land. The river’s water quality is impacted by both agricultural and urban pressures in the catchment. The Oroua Catchment Care Group was established in April 2012 as an initiative of the Manawatu River Leaders’ Accord. It is made up of iwi, farmers, council and community members all committed to improving the Oroua and its tributaries.


The Ngatimoti Stream, Tasman

The Ngatimoti Stream is a tributary of the Moteuka River, and one which the students of Ngatimoti Primary are helping to protect. 
Ngatimoti school is a small rural school of 82 children, located 20kms from Motueka. The school overlooks Kahurangi National Park and is within walking distance of the beautiful Motueka River. 
The school has been an active participant of the enviroschool programme since 2002 and has adopted the Ngatimoti School as a hands on teaching tool for the students to learn about the natural environment, ecosystems and diversity. Their efforts are improving the quality and biodiversity of the Ngatimoti stream which is in turn helping improve the main stem of the Motueka River.


The Maitai/Mahitahi River, Nelson

Working in partnership with Iwi, the community and key agencies in the region, Nelson City Council is embarking on a five-year project to improve the water quality of the much loved Maitai / Mahitahi.