Ben & George at meeting with iwi and farmer

Waimā Waitai Waiora Partnership Project

Waterways – With Descriptor


The Kaipara is the largest harbour in the Southern Hemisphere and is a national taonga for its many ecological, cultural, historic and economic values. The mauri (life force) of the harbour, its ecological health and wellbeing is being degraded by sediment from the Wairoa River network.

The Waimā Waitai Waiora partnership project involves working with landowners to develop farm environment/water quality improvement plans for 230 farms, incorporating sustainable land management practices and the principles of mātauranga Māori. The goal is to reduce sediment into the Kaipara Harbour.

Living Water is one contributor to this project that has brought partners together under an innovative ‘Mana Enhancing Agreement’. This agreement places the principle of mana at the centre of a living relationship to manage the expectations, roles and responsibilities of the partners working together on this project.


  • Reduced sediment and bacteria levels in the Wairoa River and its tributaries
  • Improved ecological health of the Wairoa River and Kaipara Harbour
  • Enhance the impact, reach and effectiveness of water quality improvement initiatives across the Northern Wairoa through sharing perspectives, experience, resources, knowledge, and networks to ensure all our respective work programmes are aligned
  • A collaborative effort enabling water quality improvement at a landscape scale on private land


  • Project concept agreed by partners in April 2017
  • $2.8m secured for the five year project including $1.25m from the government’s Freshwater Improvement Fund and $1.25m funded by project partners (Northland Regional Council, Living Water, Reconnecting Northland, Manaaki Whenua / Landcare Research, Sustainable Business Network, Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group, Ngā Kaitiaki O Ngā Wai Māori, Te Roroa, Te Uri O Hau, Million Metres Streams) 
  • High level project planning completed end of 2017
  • Mana Enhancing Agreement signed in December 2017 and reviewed in March 2020
  • 133,500 natives planted in 2020, 100,00 natives planted in 2021 and 60,000 will be planted in 2022 season
  • Te Kawa Waiora research component is ongoing until the end of 2021 
  • Ongoing development of the WAIora app 

Concept Development

Completed March 2017

Progress: 100%

Project Planning

Completed by December 2017

Progress: 100%

Project Implementation

Started in 2018 and due to end late 2022

Progress: 50%

Looking at eels

See our Mana Enhancing Agreement