Project Wins International Exposure

(Published on 20th November 2015)

UPDATE: Aorere Wins!

NZ Landcare Trust's Aorere River Project won the inaugural Morgan Foundation NZ Riverprize at the International Riversymposium Gala Dinner in Brisbane last night.

Richard Thompson Chair of NZ Landcare Trust's Board of Trustees said "What a fantastic result for the Trust and the Aorere community. This is an amazing result given the strength of the competition... it really underlines the value of this project and the work carried out by NZ Landcare Trust."

NZ Landcare Trust CEO Dr Nick Edgar accepted the award on behalf of the Aorere River Initiative. “I think this is a real victory for community-led grassroots river management in New Zealand. Without the Aorere river community, the story really wouldn’t have happened.”

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The amazing work carried out on NZ Landcare Trust's Aorere River Project will attract international attention in September - the project was recently shortlisted as one of four finalists for the prestigious Morgan Foundation NZ Riverprize, which will be presented at the 18th International River Symposium in Brisbane.

The Aorere River Initiative is a farmer-led catchment project in the Tasman District of New Zealand’s South Island. With the catchment home to over 13,000 cows and 35 dairy farms, the Aorere River has suffered from serious bacterial contamination. This contamination has in turn had a negative impact on aquaculture including the mussel and cockle farms in the Ruataniwha estuary.

NZ Landcare Trust played a lead role in bringing different stakeholders together and supporting farmers in the region to set up the Aorere Catchment Group. NZ Landcare Trust worked with farmers to develop on-farm environmental plans, provide project coordination and act as brokers, facilitators and supporters to the farming community.

A major achievement of the Aorere River initiative was the willingness of dairy farmers to tackle issues head on - with 24 farms developing farm plans and over $1.6 million invested in on-farm best management practices. The Aorere River Project not only improved the ecological health of the river and coastal environment but also created community cohesion, assisting dairy and marine farmers to coexist and maintain their livelihoods sustainably. The initiative has also transferred knowledge to others by Twinning with the nearby Rai catchment and developing a toolkit to apply in other catchments across New Zealand.

NZ Landcare Trust CEO Dr Nick Edgar said "Becoming a finalist in the inaugural NZ Riverprize is an amazing achievement for the NZ Landcare Trust.  It is a reflection of the Trust's 19 year journey to support the farming community to restore New Zealand' freshwater ecosystems. I would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the Trust's staff and Trustees to this mission. Special recognition goes to our Nelson/Marlborough Regional Coordinator, Barbara Stuart, for a lifetime's commitment to supporting the rural community, in particular, the farmers in the Aorere River catchment."

The other three finalists are Lake Taupo (Waikato), the Manawatu River (Manawatu) and Project Twin Streams (Waitakere). The Trust would also like to acknowledge the other NZ Riverprize finalists. "No matter who wins the prize, we are all winners... because promoting these river stories can only encourage further efforts to secure healthy waterways for all New Zealanders" added Dr Edgar.

Gayle Wood, Chair of the New Zealand Riverprize Judging Panel said the finalists are exceptional. "They demonstrate the best that New Zealand has to offer in integrated river basin management.  While protecting the country’s rivers and lakes, the finalists all approach their work in unique ways – some are community led partnerships and others are coordinated by the government. New Zealand should be very proud of this environmental work which ranks among the best in the world.”

NZ Landcare Trust is an independent non-government charitable trust that provides practical assistance and support to farmers, landowners and community groups working on sustainable land and water management projects.

Further information about the Aorere Project can be found online: www.landcare






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