Restoring the Waiapu Catchment

Restoring the Waiapu River catchment in the Gisborne district is a collaborative programme between MPI, Te Runanganui O Ngāti Porou (TRONPnui), and the Gisborne District Council (GDC). The programme aims to treat erosion, stop greater physical damage to the catchment, and bring social and economic gains to iwi and landowners.


Action plan to kick off 100-year programme

Restoring the Waiapu River catchment will take time and the effects of erosion will take decades to remediate. The timeframe for this programme is 100 years, evolving over 4 phases with an initial focus on the first 10 years.

To get started, the programme partners developed an 11-month action plan, which began in October 2013, to:

  • draw together the expertise and information within GDC, MPI, and TRONPNui
  • accelerate land remediation by targeting the priority blocks causing the greatest damage to the catchment
  • remove barriers to East Coast Forestry Project (ECFP) grants
  • assist owners of land in Māori title with land use, planning and management, and accessing finance
  • present landowners with a wider range of treatment and land-use options
  • encourage sustainable land-use practices and build innovative and profitable businesses.

Programme vision

Ko te mana ko te hauora o te whenua, ko te hauora o ngā awa, ko te hauora o te iwi

– Healthy land, healthy rivers, healthy people.

Programme will support the local economy and society

The Waiapu catchment has the highest suspended sediment yield of any river in New Zealand and one of the highest in the world.

If erosion remains untreated in key areas, models suggest there is the potential for current erosion and sedimentation to double by 2050. The catchment would experience even greater physical damage, the area's agricultural production would decline, and social deprivation would worsen.

The desired outcomes of restoring the catchment are:

  • environmental restoration
  • economic profitability
  • cultural revitalisation
  • social prosperity.

While the programme focuses on the Waiapu catchment, it also provides the impetus to improve the ECFP and GDC's Sustainable Hill Country Programme across the district, for the benefit of all the district's iwi and landowners.

Memorandum of understanding signed

The Waiapu catchment restoration programme partners – MPI, TRONPNui, and the GDC – have signed a memorandum of understanding, committing to 100 years of working collaboratively with landowners to improve the health of the Waiapu River catchment.

Find out more

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