General news

Representatives of the team who helped restore the Waitao receive the NZ River Story Award 2016
2 August 2017

Judging underway for 2017 New Zealand River Story Awards

Judging is underway for the 2017 New Zealand River Story Awards. This year the awards recognise and celebrate the contributions of young people. Cawthron Foundation has identified eight stories where individuals, groups, businesses and communities are working together to make a positive difference to the health of our rivers and streams.

"Young people over the length and breadth of New Zealand are working hard to improve the quality of our rivers," says Cawthron Foundation Manager, Elizabeth Bean. "We all have a part to play in protecting and managing our environment; the NZ River Awards are a way to showcase rivers that are leading the way.

"The river space is important to all kiwis and all the projects that we heard about illustrate younger people doing positive things to help improve river quality. There were so many inspiring stories about projects that involved community collaboration, science and other innovative ways to address freshwater-related challenges. And with so many to choose from, our biggest problem was identifying eight finalist projects."

Summaries of eight projects are currently being judged by leading New Zealand journalist and natural history author, Gerard Hutching. The winning River Story will be announced at an event in Wellington on 23 November. The River Awards, which recognise the most improved rivers in each region and nationally, will also be announced.

'Breathe' is a local community project aimed at engaging the wider public in the kaitiaki (caring for, safeguarding) of Te Wairepo (York) Stream – a local canalised waterway – through arts and community events

The eight stories currently being judged are:

  • Northland: Dargaville Intermediate is helping the environment and its own budget at the same time by raising native plants to sell to other groups involved in riparian planting
  • Waikato: Conservation-minded primary students from Tauwhare School are off to Melbourne to talk about their recent activity on the Waitakaruru Stream
  • Hawkes Bay: Te Kaha Hawaikirangi is only 30-years old but has already spent years leading the charge to restore the Tutaekuri River in Hawkes Bay
  • Wellington: Koraunui School is playing a crucial part in restoring whitebait and other native fish to the upper reaches of Stokes Valley Stream
  • Nelson Tasman: Along Poorman’s Stream children from primary, intermediate and secondary schools are finding that cleaning up their local stream requires commitment from the whole community and takes a long time
  • Nelson Tasman: Art meets science in a student exhibition that raises awareness about the York/Te Wairepo Stream and carries a real-time environmental message
  • Canterbury: Children from 16 schools are working hard to bring back the whitebait/inaka to Heathcote/Opawho and Avon/Otakaro Rivers
  • Otago: Kauru River is the place where university students took their research out of the classroom into the field; the resulting technology is now used around the world to manage freshwater

The River Story component of the Awards is sponsored by Waitomo Group, part of Tourism Holdings – for whom water quality management is a priority and area of focus in Waitomo. John Robson, GM Waitomo Group says "I feel heartened knowing that these people will be leaders in the river space in years to come and our company is pleased to be associated with showcasing efforts that are representative of our desire to improve New Zealand waterways."

Listen to Dr Roger Young talk about river health