Community and Education news

6 June 2019

Cawthron puts the call out for Aotearoa’s best river stories for the 2019 New Zealand River Awards

Cawthron is calling for the public to nominate the country’s best river stories for this year’s New Zealand River Awards. The River Story Award goes to the individual or community with the most interesting and compelling story about working to improve the health of a river, or rivers generally.

“Anyone can share a river story about the work that has been going on to make a positive difference to its health,” says New Zealand River Awards organiser Elizabeth Bean.

“Entries should include some kind of ongoing river monitoring component so that improvement in river health can be measured.

“We want to know what has been done to improve the river, who has been involved, and what has been achieved. Stories should show a history of solid work, community engagement, and the use of science. We are seeking stories that inspire and that advocate for our freshwater habitats and what lives in them. Farming, urban development, or a harsh environment should not be reasons for poor water quality.”

The New Zealand River Awards were established to draw attention to the state of our rivers, but more importantly, to recognise where communities, councils, farmers, and industry are achieving significant improvement in water quality in one or more of their local rivers.

The long-term objectives of the Awards are to:

  • Improve the health of New Zealand’s rivers and streams.
  • Encourage greater community participation in measuring and reporting water quality.
  • Highlight the actions being taken to restore river health.

“The Awards celebrate improvement in water quality,” says Elizabeth Bean. “In addition to the river stories category, all rivers, whether they are in poor health or in pristine condition can potentially win an award for being the Most Improved River in a region or nationally.”

A number of River Stories have already been submitted, which indicates how passionate New Zealanders are about the health of our rivers, says Elizabeth Bean.

Last year’s river stories finalists were Te Auaunga (Oakley Creek) one of Auckland’s longest urban streams, Mere Tamanui in the East Cape for her work with local whānau and awa, and Wanaka community-based native plant nursery Te Kākano Aotearoa Trust for its riparian planting work in the Upper Clutha area.

Entries close on 14 June 2019 with finalists announced in September. The winning River Stories will then be celebrated at the New Zealand River Awards in Wellington on 7 November. New Zealand’s Most Improved River will also be announced at that event.

Nominations for the River Stories category of the New Zealand River Awards can be sent to