Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step

  • Hon David Parker

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland.

Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Te Roroa, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua, Te Uri o Hau (collectively known as Kaipara Uri), Northland Regional Council and Auckland Council.

In August 2019 the Kaipara was named as the first “exemplar” or “at-risk” catchment to receiving backing as part of the Government’s work alongside local communities and iwi to improve water quality. 

In this year’s Budget, as part of the Jobs for Nature package, the Government committed $100 million towards the remediation of Kaipara Moana, New Zealand’s largest estuarine ecosystem, with a matching $100 million contribution from local councils and landowners.  

“The $200 million Kaipara Moana Remediation Programme will restore mauri to Kaipara Moana while at the same time creating local jobs and opportunities. Close to 100 jobs will be established in the first year alone,” David Parker said. 

The MOU is the catalyst to establish the Joint Committee between Kaipara Uri and the councils to govern the remediation programme.  

“The programme is the first of its kind – a long term, catchment-wide remediation initiative involving iwi, central and local government, landowners and wider community working together to restore the 602,000 hectare catchment.” 

The Kaipara Moana and its catchment, the most important snapper nursery area for the west coast of the North Island, are facing severe degradation. Sediment is the main problem with up to 700,000 tonnes washed into the harbour each year (about seven times the amount before human settlement).    

“We have the opportunity to restore Kaipara Moana to a healthy, biologically-rich, self-sustaining and naturally productive environment that can support a thriving community. 

“A key focus of the remediation programme will be on on-farm actions including planting highly erodible land, riparian planting and fencing waterways. This programme will be an excellent example of the implementation of the recently announced Essential Freshwater reform package.”

The next steps will be developing a deed of funding for the Kaipara Moana Remediation programme, which is expected to take up to two months, but at the same time work can get started.  

The Kaipara Moana is the largest estuarine water body in the country; it spans Auckland and Northland regions, is of global ecological and biological significance and profound importance to Māori and recreational users.