Aerial view of Waikato River
Waikato River from above © Design UnStudio-Deepti Joshi

Stories in New Zealand

Investing in Resilient Waikato Catchments

TNC in Aotearoa New Zealand is working with Iwi, partners and stakeholders to understand and explore how innovative conservation tools, collective action and finance mechanisms might be used to complement existing initiatives to enhance freshwater in the Waikato River Catchments.

The Waikato River is Aotearoa New Zealand’s longest river at 425 kilometers and is impacted along its length by agricultural, industrial and urban run-offs. Of great cultural significance to Waikato-Tainui and other river Iwi, the river has also become a highly modified system due to drainage, flood protection, hydro-generation activities and land clearance. 

Given these challenges, we are also looking to establish or support a governance or advisory mechanism for water security in the Waikato catchments; engage in information gathering and technical studies; and develop a portfolio of interventions, a strategic plan and communications and engagement options.

This project offers an exciting opportunity for community-led, integrated catchment management that delivers conservation, economic and cultural benefits. By changing land use and shifting the scale of nature-based restoration approaches, we will improve freshwater quality and quantity, along with climate and biodiversity outcomes, that will benefit nature and people.

A crystal-clear day
A crystal-clear day on Lake Matheson with Mount Cook in background. © April Ferrino/TNC Photo Contest 2019

Help Protect New Zealand's Freshwater Systems

New Zealand’s freshwater is at a crucial turning point. TNC has been working with the New Zealand government, Iwi, industry and other stakeholders to turn things around for the country’s freshwater resources in order to restore them to the pristine state that the country prides itself on. 

To learn more, please contact Amy Satterfield at