The Kawarau River flows through the gorge. The Kawarau Gorge is a located in Central Otago, in the South Island of New Zealand.
Kawarau Gorge, New Zealand The Kawarau River flows through the gorge. The Kawarau Gorge is a located in Central Otago, in the South Island of New Zealand. © Bernard Spragg, Flickr Creative Commons

Stories in New Zealand

Our Work in New Zealand

The Nature Conservancy is well-positioned to support New Zealand’s efforts to achieve a greater conservation vision for both nature and people.

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How We Work

As part of a three-year strategic plan, in 2016 we worked with government officials, local communities, indigenous (Iwi) leaders, businesses and local conservation groups to identify science-based solutions to poor water quality and runoff. Many of the challenges faced are similar to those we are addressing in the United States and Brazil, where some agricultural practices have led to increased sediment runoff as well as overuse of pesticides and fertilizers that pollute groundwater, rivers and estuaries.

In New Zealand, we are working to map the supply chains of the nation’s main agricultural sectors that affect water quality and identify how water users can gather investments to protect upstream lands that filter and regulate water supply, as well as provide critical habitat for native plants and wildlife.

Central to this work is the Iwi world view of “Ki uta ki tai” (protecting resources from the “Mountains to the Sea”). We will work Iwi leaders to develop solutions that respect treaty rights and address economic needs of Iwi communities.

In the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand’s busiest body of water, we’re supporting efforts to restore shellfish reefs that have been damaged by decades of sediment runoff, trawler fishing and extensive dredging that removed much of the native shellfish that once filtered these waters. Here, we’ll restore 50 acres of living shellfish reef that will serve as the gold standard for New Zealand marine habitat restoration.

With over 200 marine restoration programs worldwide, we have made the ecological and economic case that when properly executed, habitat restoration is an enduring solution to repairing environmental damage—and a good investment for businesses that require healthy marine ecosystems to support their business models.

We can't do this important work without you.

Where We Work

  • Freshwater: introducing market-based approaches to help reduce freshwater pollution. We will determine how supply chain reform, water funds and impact investments can benefit New Zealand’s freshwater resources.
  • Hauraki Gulf: helping to support currently under-resourced efforts to replenish reefs and mussel beds in New Zealand’s most-utilized body of water.
  • Ocean: supporting the conservation and expansion of New Zealand’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and quantifying the value of ocean resources within MPAs for a variety of indicators, from tourism revenue to fishery production.
  • Fisheries: exporting key lessons learned from New Zealand’s rights-based fisheries management system to regional neighbors that share migration routes for high-value species.