Across New Zealand, many rivers are unsafe parts of the ecosystem, with Kiwis seriously concerned about declining river health.
The ‘bottom line’ regulatory approach of the government's freshwater reforms requires coordinated commitment across river stakeholders. Despite the talent and commitment of existing groups, the current fragmented approaches are not achieving the scale and rapidity of change needed; it is not enough to rely on government.
Te Awaroa is a national movement of Kiwis taking action to care for their waterways, with a collective goal of achieving 1000 rivers in a state of ora by 2050. We believe that rivers will return to ora when stakeholders develop a collective sense of care, and have a suite of locally relevant practices and tools that they can and will use.
Te Awaroa has been invited to work in partnership with two communities - Ōrākei/Ōkahu and Waimatā/Taruheru/Tūranganui, to trial new or previously under-valued ways of thinking about rivers, and fostering knowledge-rich approaches to ensure that rivers, communities and businesses prosper and thrive together. We will work with local leaders, experts, businesses and community members to share skills and expertise, enhance the ora of waterways, and transfer successful tools and strategies. The intent is to realise community agency by producing local practical, enduring solutions with national and international implications and constructive impacts on national policy. Through working in two Māori driven project sites the Ngā Pae Te Awaroa project will:
Inspire New Zealanders to take care of our rivers
Create conditions for rivers to take care of themselves
Ensure that the ‘voice of the river’ is articulated and heard
Trial innovative concepts and approaches to river care, particularly bringing together mātauranga, local knowledge and science
Run collaborative learning events, with a particular focus on engaging young people and change agents
Scale up successful approaches to have national reach through Te Awaroa’s and NPM’s networks