Wairua waterway scene

The Whitebait Connection

Fish Habitat – With Descriptor

What is the project about?

The Whitebait Connection is a freshwater education programme delivered by the Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust, specialists in community engagement in freshwater issues. Set up in 2002, their work within the Hikurangi Floodplain involves monitoring of species composition and water, engagement of the community with ‘have a go’ days to learn about monitoring techniques, and delivery of an education programme to local schools. Living Water provided funding support for this project between 2015-2018.

How was the project undertaken?

The whitebait programme was delivered to four local schools in Northland twice a year. Collaboration with Ngā Kaitiaki O Ngā Wai Māori enabled delivery of cultural health education into the schools programme. Stakeholder engagement workshops were also held.

What was achieved by the project?

The Whitebait Connection is increasing landowner and community awareness of freshwater issues, by focusing on the impact of poor water quality on spawning grounds for inanga (whitebait) a culinary delicacy for humans and also a critical food source for fish and birds. A goal is to achieve long-term behaviour change in both today’s and tomorrow’s generations by directly engaging with school students.

Where is more information available?

For more information, head to The Whitebait Connection Website

Stream in wairua catchment


Began 2015 and completed 2018

Progress: 100%