Overview of Freshwater Improvement Fund projects

An overview of the projects that received funding from the Freshwater Improvement Fund's 2021, 2020 and 2017 funding rounds. Two projects from the 2017 funding round have been completed.

2021 funding round





Northland Īnanga Spawning Habitat Restoration Project

Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust

This project aims to scale up the collaborative work locating, protecting, and enhancing īnanga spawning habitats, alongside community engagement and capacity/capability development in the Northland region.

4.5  3 years  $1,000,000 


Hokianga Catchment Restoration Project

Hokianga Harbour Care Incorporated 


The Hokianga Catchment Restoration Project will undertake on-the-ground activities to improve the health of the freshwater catchments within the Hokianga district, thereby improving the health of the Hokianga Harbour and the community that relies on it.




4 years 




Waihaumanu Project  

Te Puāwaitanga o Ngāti Hinerangi Iwi Trust (TPNHT)  


This project aims to restore the Mangapiko stream, the awa tūturu.








Ngā kaitiaki o te awa o Pūniu - Stage 2 

Pūniu River Care Incorporated 


This project will fence and vegetate tributaries which flow into the Pūniu river.




4.5 years 



Bay of Plenty

Te Wahapū o Waihī

Bay of Plenty Regional Council

This project aims to restore the Waihī estuary and its catchment.

25.44   4 years  $2,905,008 



Restoring the Mauri and Ora of the Tūranganui Estuary System  

Gisborne District Council  


This project aims to restore the Mauri and Ora of the Tūranganui Estuary System. 



4.5 years 


Hawke's Bay

Waingongoro Awa Project

Horizons Farming Limited

This project aims to create community collaboration with Iwi/Hapu, school and residents for the protection and enhancement of the Waingongoro Awa catchment.


4 years



Improving Fish Passage in the Wellington Region

Greater Wellington Regional Council 


This project aims to improve fish passage in Wellington’s waterways, by developing a Fish Passage Regional Action Plan, assessing, remediating and monitoring fish passages.  




4.5 years 





Securing the mauri of Moawhitu 

Ngāti Koata Trust 


The project aims to restore and secure the cultural and ecological mauri of Moawhitu  through a multi-partner initiative.




4.5 years 




Te Waihora Freshwater Wetland Restoration - Tārerekautuku wetland

Selwyn District Council  


This project will support the ecological restoration of the significant Tārerekautuku / Yarrs Lagoon wetland, as part of the wider Te Waihora Freshwater Wetland Restoration project.




4.5 years 

$ 796,980 

2020 funding round




Nga Kaitiaki o Te Awa Waitangi

Ko Waitangi Te Awa Trust This project will implement the Waitangi Management Plan which will support environmental education and create employment opportunities to better water quality. This will be achieved through cultural health monitoring, fencing, planting and predator monitoring. 32 5 $2,500,000
Waikato Maungatautari To Pirongia Ecological Corridor Project NZ Landcare Trust This project will create an ecological connection between the waterways which flow from Maungatautari to Mt Pirongia. An ecological corridor reconnecting these areas will be created through biodiversity plantings, which will enhance native biodiversity and numbers, transform iwi connections to the awa, and improve water quality. 




Waikato Moehau ki te moana Colville Social Services Collective (CSSC) This project will work collaboratively with farmers, iwi and community to restore the waters of the Moehau region. This will be achieved by excluding stock from waterways, and planting native trees around waterways and wetlands.




Bay of Plenty

Project Parore Uretara Estuary Managers Project Parore will develop collaborative Catchment Management Plans, prepare Farm Environment Plans, support farmers to implement these plans and undertake an ecological monitoring programme. 32.5 5 $1,748,000
Taranaki Tangaroa Stream Restoration New Plymouth District Council; The Tangaroa Restoration project will restore the Tangaroa Stream, which is an urban water body and tributary to the Waitara River in the Taranaki region. The project will address urban flooding and water quality issues while promoting and enhancing Te Mana o te Wai. The project aims to improve water quality, restore native fish habitat and biodiversity, and return mauri to an awa of cultural significance. The work takes a holistic approach to restoration across a range of land ownership within the awa corridor. Land is owned by Iwi, Ministry of Education and New Plymouth District Council. 8 (expected to increase) 5 $1,794,000
Gisborne Waimatā Catchment Restoration Project Waimatā Catchment Group Incorporated This project aims to restore water quality along 38 km of the Waimatā River. The project will do this through 30km riparian fencing, stock water reticulation, culverting/ bridging stock crossings and over 150,000 riparian plants planted. 9 5 $845,500
Gisborne Uawanui Restoration Project Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti Centre of Excellence Trust The Uawanui Project is an iwi and community-led initiative that aims to achieve long-term economic, environmental, and social benefits for the people of Uawa. The objective of Uawanui is to initiate and co-ordinate a series of integrated projects over the next three years, that will control weeds, plant native plants and fence along waterways and train local cadets help to improve water quality.  6 3 $582,602
Hawke's Bay Tukipo Freshwater and Biodiversity Enhancement Tukipo Catchment Care Group This project will treat water quality issues in the Tukipo catchment through riparian and erosion control planting and restoring wetlands.  54 4 $2,047,874
Hawke's Bay Taurekaitai ki Te Paerahi Pōrangahau Catchment Group - Taurekaitai ki Te Paerahi Incorporated The Pōrangahau Catchment Group (PCG) will develop a catchment management plan to restore and protect the Pōrangahau River in Central Hawke’s Bay over the next three years. This will be done through planting, fencing, retiring whitebait spawning sites, pest control and community education. 8.5 3 $2,149,984
Marlborough Te Hoiere Project- Catchment Condition Surveying, Quick-win Jobs and Restoration Te Hoiere Project Partnership (sponsor: Marlborough District Council) This project will accelerate change to remedy water quality issues in the area. The outcomes from this project will be the rapid correction of water contamination sources, establishment of riparian buffers and fencing of identified significant wetlands.  39 (to be confirmed) 5 $1,000,000
Nelson Wakapuaka Enhancement Project Tasman Environmental Trust (TET) This project will be the largest restoration project in Nelson on private land. It will plant 10.1 ha along the Wakapuka river and tributaries, linking to existing restoration projects. 21.62 5 $3,000,000
Tasman Restoring in-stream structures to facilitate fish passage in Tasman Tasman District Council This project will improve fish diversity and abundance throughout Tasman District by restoring fish passage through restoring fish passage at 6000 in-stream structures. This work on private land involves many different landowners all over the district. 3.5 5 $1,750,000
Tasman Tasman Wetlands for Water Quality and Freshwater Ecosystems Tasman District Council This project will restore and create wetlands in the Tasman region. This will be done through controlling weeds, replanting and restoring natural hydrological regimes. This will improve the health and resilience of native wetland vegetation,  improve water quality and help to mitigate the impacts of climate change by storing carbon and moderating flood flows. 30.5  5 $3,000,000
Canterbury Whakaora Te Waikēkēwai (the Restoration of Waikēkēwai Stream): riparian, wetland, and on-farm actions to restore a whole catchment Te Taumutu Rūnanga, on behalf of the Te Waihora Co-Governance Group This project aims to restore a whole catchment along Te Waikēkēwai/Waikēkēwai Stream. The project will complete riparian planting along the entire length of Te Waikēkēwai, re-create a significant wetland, improve fish passage and provide a ‘whole of catchment’ restoration approach that can be used by other projects. 20  5 $2,160,084
Canterbury Styx Catchment as a Viable Spring-fed River Ecosystem Styx Living Laboratory Trust This project will support community-led waterway restoration efforts. This project work includes the eradication of pest plants, protection of freshwater quality, restoring ecological function and viability of vulnerable waterways, and providing opportunities for its people to be actively involved in managing their local freshwater.  43  5 $4,159,704
Canterbury  Cashmere Stream Restoration Christchurch City Council This project will work with community groups to restore the mauri of Cashmere stream, which has been degraded since it was straightened and turned into a drainage canal. This project will remove sediment, re-sculpt the banks, create meanders and more complex instream habitat, and plant banks and wider margins with appropriate native species.  21  3 $1,495,000
Canterbury Canterbury High Country Wetland & Waterway Protection Project North Canterbury Fish & Game This project will protect valuable, yet vulnerable, high country wetlands and waterways. The project will work with landowners to retire land in strategic areas and protect sensitive instream habitats and water quality through targeted riparian management. 6 3 $784,000
Otago Maniototo Tiaki - Preservation Maniototo Upper Taieri Wai This project will preserve, protect and enhance water quality, recreational, cultural, biodiversity and economic values the Upper Taieri Catchment. This will be achieved by catchment scale fencing, riparian planting and weed control. This also includes restoration of recreational areas and development and promotion of walking access to the river.  45  5 $4,550,000
Otago Wanaka Catchment Group Wai Ora Initiative Wanaka Catchment Group This project will support the implementation of farm environment plans, nutrient plans, and a comprehensive water monitoring project in the area. 43.4 kilometres of fencing will be erected, 57343 native plants planted and stock water/ culverting infrastructure will be constructed. 

2.35 (expected to increase)

3 $1,072,269

2017 funding round


Whakamana Te Waituna
Environment Southland
This project will allow water levels to be managed independently of the need to keep surrounding farm land drained. Contaminant reduction targets for the lagoon and its tributaries will also be established, farm plans developed to reduce the rate of sediment and nutrient losses originating from on-farm and off-farm activities, and the demonstration of in-situ technologies as examples of better practice.


Awarua wetland and ecological corridor
Porirua City Council
Improvements to the lower reaches of the Rangihuhi and Mahina Streams will be achieved through the development of a 1 Ha urban wetland to treat contaminated runoff from over 40 Ha of developed land. A wetland flood bypass pipe (with provision for fish migration) will also be constructed to improve flows from the upper catchment without causing flooding to low-lying areas following rainfall events. Landscaping (including boardwalk and viewing platform) will be installed.
Manawatu Awa Freshwater Improvement Project
Horizons Regional Council
This project focuses on the whole of the Manawatū Catchment and parts of the Rangitīkei Catchment, which have declined due to pressures from point source discharges and intensive land use. Funding will be used to undertake 250km of fencing, plant 200,000 native plants, install 20 fish passes, deliver a cultural monitoring programme and enable 45 community-led restoration projects.
 $ 2,928,998.00
Transforming Taranaki
Taranaki Regional Council
“Transforming Taranaki” Project seeks to encourage and provide riparian fencing and planting in the Taranaki ring plan and coastal terrace. This will be achieved through alignment with riparian management plans, maintaining existing planting, engaging iwi and the community in freshwater improvement, and applying mātauranga Maori.
 $ 2,000,000.00
Te Waiū o Tūtira - the milk of Tūtira
Hawkes Bay Regional Council
Pressures including erosion, excessive nutrient loading, poor water flow, loss of connectivity and restricted fish passage have negatively affected the mauri of Lakes Tūtira and Waikōpiro. This project will develop an Integrated Catchment Management Plan, develop and implement farm environmental management plans throughout the catchment, reconnect Papakiri Stream to Lake Tūtira, install an oxygenation system and implement a mauri monitoring program.
Rangitāiki River wetland restoration project
Bay of Plenty Regional Council
Located in the Rangitāiki River catchment, between Murupara and the lower limit of Lake Aniwaniwa (Aniwhenua Dam), this project will restore 206Ha of wetlands across six High Value Ecological Sites by establishing long-term management plans, installing fencing to exclude stock, removal of pest plants and animals and native riparian planting.
Water quality and habitat enhancement of Lake Whangape (administered by the Department of Conservation)
Department of Conservation
Sedimentation and nutrient loading from intensive dairying, coupled with aggressive spread of alligator weed has led to a decline in lake water quality and habitat of Lake Whangape. This project will restore the health of the lake and associated wetlands through fencing to exclude stock, revegetation of lake margins and wetlands, accelerated alligator weed containment and the implementation of a Kaitiaki Monitoring Framework.
Whakaora Te Ahuriri (the Restoration of Ahuriri)
Canterbury Regional Council
Improvements to water quality and quantity are proposed as a pathway to improve the water quality of the associated catchments feeding Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere. Installation of a constructed wetland at Ahuriri Lagoon (to reduce nutrient and sediment flows) and the creation of an open water area to provide an improved habitat for mahinga kai.
Northern Wairoa Freshwater Improvement Project
Northland Regional Council 
This project will reduce sediment and bacteria levels in the Wairoa River and its tributaries by working with landowners to set up sustainable land management practices informed by mātauranga Māori. The project will employ two land management advisors, develop farm plans, and undertake fencing, wetland enhancement, soil conservation and monitoring activities.

Waikirikiri / Selwyn River: Near River Recharge Project - this project has been completed.

Canterbury Regional Council
An off-take for long-term access to water from the Central Plains Water (CPW) scheme pipeline will be installed to significantly improve water quantity and quality of Waikirikiri/Selwyn River system (including the Hororata, Irwell and Selwyn Rivers as well as their nearby wetlands and Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere).  The pipeline will result in the restoration of cultural and ecological values, and community swimming sites.
Hōteo Sediment Reduction Project
Auckland Council
This project implements engineering solutions to target sediment ‘hot-spots’ within the Hōteo Catchment. Interventions include natural river engineering, fencing to exclude stock and riparian planting to retain banks. A case study evaluating the effectiveness of interventions will also be produced as part of the project.
Ngā Kaitiaki o te Awa o Pūniu
Pūniu River Care Incorporated
This project aims to improve water quality, the mauri of the awa as well as helping to restore indigenous fish habitat and terrestrial biodiversity. Activities include riparian fencing to exclude stock, erosion protection works, planting 160,000 native trees and the creation of a bilingual, open-source guide for marae-based restoration to enable growth in the development of other new organisations undertaking similar activities.
Wharekopae River Restoration
Gisbourne District Council
Supporting a diverse and healthy abundance of aquatic life and consistently meeting swimming targets is the goal of a project that will see 30km of improvements along the Wharekopae River.  Interventions include fencing to exclude stock, installation of water reticulation systems, culverting of stock crossings, riparian and soil conservation plantings.
Lake Horowhenua Water Quality Improvement Project
Horowhenua 11 (Lake) Part Reservation Trust
This project proposes to increase the body of cultural and scientific information about the quality and movement of groundwater within the catchment, assessment and flushing of the stormwater system, establishment of a silt interceptor, shallow groundwater monitoring and implementation of two cultural monitoring programme activities.     
Northland Dune Lakes Strategic Water Quality Improvement
Northland Regional Council
The Dune lakes in Northland are a globally rare ecosystem. Water quality and quantity is being affected by pastoral and dairy farming. It also faces biosecurity threats from invasive pest species. The project will introduce a systematic approach to improving 25 affected lakes. Interventions include nutrient modelling and mitigation measures (such as fencing, sediment retention bunds and riparian planting), macrophyte aquaculture, biosecurity surveys, removal of pest fish and water-weeds.
Lake Waipu Freshwater Improvement Project
Horizons Regional Council
The project will remove the direct discharge of treated waste water to Lake Waipu and apply the waste water to land; and
Monitor the changes in Lake Waipu as a result of this removal of the point source discharge. This monitoring will also enable the development of further in-lake or catchment interventions that may be required to restore the health of Lake Waipu
The Ngā Wai Ora o te Whangaehu Freshwater Improvement project
Horizons Regional Council
Whangaehu Catchment is vulnerable due to its geology, and point source discharges into the two main catchment tributaries (Makotuku and Mangawhero Rivers). This project proposes 60 km fencing to prevent stock access, riparian planting of 12,000 native plants, five fish pass repairs and 10 community-led restoration projects.
Sunshine, wetlands and bees will revitalise the taonga of Whakaki
Hawkes Bay Regional Council
This project will revitalise Whakakī Lake while supporting sustainable land use. The goal is to help the water recover so tuna are fit for consumption and people can access the lake and swim safely. Whakakī is taonga to Ngati Hinepua, Ngati Hine and Ngai Te Ipu. The lake currently has poor water quality, is heavily silted and is unsafe for swimming or consuming tuna. 
Water quality improvement in the Waiwiri catchment
Lowe Environmental Impact Limited
The exotic pine plantation surrounding the “Pot” in Horowhenua’s Waiwiri catchment is spray irrigated with treated effluent from Levin’s wastewater treatment plan. The project will re-design the irrigation infrastructure and replace 10Ha pine forest with mānuka/kānuka and other native species to limit contaminants entering the drain and subsequently the Waiwiri Stream. Monitoring of groundwater will be undertaken to quantify the benefits of the new system.
Protecting our Groundwater
Foundation for Arable Reseatch
This project will improve groundwater quality by using the actual measurement of diffuse nutrient losses from cropping farms as evidence to promote management changes to reduce these losses - The project is focussed on groundwater in vulnerable catchments in Canterbury, Manawatu, Hawkes Bay, Waikato and South Auckland. 
Lake Wanaka
Otago Regional Council
The purpose of this project is to protect water quality in Lake Wanaka and the Upper Clutha catchment by limiting negative impacts of significant growth in agriculture, tourism and the urban environment. 
Snake Creek Restoration Project - this project has been completed.
Water & Wildlife Habitat Trust
The creek flows into the Selwyn River/Waikirikiri and was historically managed as a drain. The diversity of species in the creek has reduced, and elevated E. Coli attributed to pollutants from the Silverstream catchment. The project will establish sediment traps and other sediment mitigation measures, re-batter stream banks and plant native grasses, and deepen a well to ensure the creek’s water quantity.
Te Awaawa Stream Restoration
Ngāti Pāhauwera Development Trust Ltd
Te Awawa stream has significant cultural importance to the whanau/hapū of Ngāti Pāhauwera as a food source and place of ritual importance. These values are being threatened by forestry and farming practices within the catchment. The Trust will restore the health of the catchment and uplift the mauri of the Te Awaawa Stream by establishing a research and observation centre to provide educational information for the public, undertaking cultural monitoring, stock exclusion fencing, landowner liaison and riparian planting.
Kaitkati Hills to Ocean - H2O Improvement Project
Uretara Estuary Managers Incorporated
Increasing urban development and intensification of horticulture and farming are accelerating stream bank erosion, sedimentation rates and stream pollution events. This project is focused on four streams within the catchment and builds on previous work undertaken by the group. Interventions include fencing, riparian planting, fish passage and wetland construction and pest control. A citizen science monitoring component is also included.
Improving freshwater through enhanced outcomes on sheep and beef farms - these
catchments will be located in Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, Otago, and Southland
Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ltd 
This project seeks to facilitate improved fresh water outcomes in four sheep and beef (hill country) dominated catchments by providing wrap-around support for farmers developing catchment community groups and Land Environment Plans (LEPs), supporting farming leaders, and connecting farming actions to in-stream values assessed by community monitoring groups. As agreed with MfE, these catchments will be located in Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, Otago, and Southland
Taylor River Catchment Improvement Project
Marlborough District Council
The establishment of a community stakeholder group including local schools and interest groups, iwi and the viticulture and pastoral farming industry will enable targeted riparian planting, expanded monitoring, and assessment of the urban stormwater and sewer networks via camera surveys.
Onenui restoration project
Tawapata South Incorporated
Erosion and faecal contamination from stock accessing waterways have led to degradation of waterways throughout the 3500 Ha Onenui Station. This project will fence and retire substantial farmland, develop reticulated water supplies for stock and undertake erosion control work.
Moawhitu Lake and Wetland
Ngāti Koata Trust
This project will improve catchment management by undertaking major earthworks to restore water levels, in-lake re-establishment of macrophytes, riparian planting and fish habitat restoration. Cultural health assessment and monitoring will also be carried out.
Nga Waimāori o Waimahae
Waimahae Marae
This project will focus on the three creeks which flow to the west coast and the Kaipara Harbour, and four creeks which flow to the east coast and the Taumarere River. The project will restore freshwater life and quality to that of 30 years ago through stream re-battering, installation of debris structures, water reticulation for stock, fencing margins and riparian planting.
Restoration of the Waipoua awa
Te Roroa Centre of Excellence
Sediment, E. coli, nutrients from pastoral farming and legacy effects from the forestry industry are all impacting on the mauri of the Waipoua Awa. The project will establish an integrated management plan to inform the collaborative management of the river, fence headwater tributaries and wetlands to exclude stock, identify and protect eroded areas to reduce sediment run-off and provide instream habitat for native fish species.
Wairarapa Moana Wetlands Project  
Historic diversion of streams and drainage affected quality and quantity of water flowing through saltmarsh on the western margin of Lake Onoke. This project will undertake earthworks to reinstate hydrological connections, restore habitat with at least 15 Ha planting and improve the Rimutaka Cycle Trail with interpretive signage to enhance the visitor experience in the area.