General news

The NZ River Awards celebrate improvements to the health of our rivers
20 February 2018

NZ River Awards 2018: News and update

It’s nearly a year since Cawthron Foundation took over running the NZ River Awards. The state of our freshwater continues to be of great interest to the public, Government, councils, tourism industry, and farmers. New Zealanders are devoting a great deal of science, money and work to improve the health of our rivers, and the NZ River Awards are a great way to recognise progress.

Dr Morgan Williams, Chair of Cawthron Foundation says it was “exciting to hear about the brave people who are helping to improve the water in our rivers. The 2017 winners gave me cause for great optimism.”

Marnie Prickett, 2017 Winner Te Reo mo te Awa (Voice for the River)

"The award represents the strong connection our communities have to their rivers and lakes. And it tells us that as a country we value people speaking up about serious problems like freshwater pollution. This makes me proud and grateful. With the commitment of our communities, plus support and courage from local and central government, the science community and industry, New Zealand can be the global leader in the protection and restoration of waterways”.

Marnie Prickett at the 2017 NZ River Awards ceremony

David Croft, Chair of Amuri Irrigation (On behalf of those who won the 2017 Most Improved River based on E. Coli)

“Winning the award was an honour. It means that we are on the right track and that the hard work and financial investment of our shareholders has been recognised. I am particularly proud of the fact that our local farming community has voluntarily embraced the need for change and invested in farm improvements of their own accord. We have worked in partnership with Environment Canterbury and others to make change happen, and that change has had positive results.”

From left to right, accepting the award on behalf of Pahau River, winner Most Improved River 2017: Bill Bayfield (ECan), Voray Croft (ACI), Steve Lowndes (Ecan), David Croft (AIC), Andrew Barton (AIC)

Dr Christoph Matthaei, University of Otago Ex-stream Project champion

“It was great to get recognition for a system developed within a New Zealand University setting that is now used all over the world. With Ex-Stream we can manipulate factors such as nutrient enrichment, sedimentation or reduced flow and use the results to determine how to improve stream water quality. The award is a great boost to the work of students, post-docs and collaborating institutions that has been going on since 2007.”

Watch the Kauru River Story on Vimeo

Mark your diary now for the evening of Thursday 29 November for this year’s NZ River Awards in Wellington. The Awards are an opportunity to celebrate those making a positive difference and to recognise rivers and catchments that are leading the way.

The Awards are evidence-based using monitoring data from the Land Air Water Aotearoa (LAWA) database. The 2018 judges – Clive Howard Williams (NIWA) and Roger Young (Cawthron Institute) are currently discussing criteria for the 2018 Awards. Up until now, a different water quality indicator has been used each year: E. coli, phosphorus, nitrogen, and the macroinvertebrate index. This year the judges are considering using an aggregate indicator that reflects a wider view of water quality.

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