About the Restoration Strategy

The Waikato River and Waipa River Restoration Strategy is being developed through a partnership between DairyNZ, the Waikato River Authority and the Waikato Regional Council, and will provide a framework for all organisations involved in Waikato and Waipa River catchment restoration activities. Its purpose is to guide tangible restoration work through specific, achievable, and prioritised activities that have been developed in consultation with catchment stakeholders.

The Waikato River Restoration Forum

The Waikato River Restoration Forum was established in 2014 and its purpose is to maximise opportunities to realise the Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River catchment. It is made up of representatives from the five River Iwi, the Waikato River Authority, Waikato Regional Council, DairyNZ, Fonterra, Territorial Local Authorities, Mighty River Power, Genesis Energy and the Department of Conservation. The Restoraton Forum is high level governance group for the development of the Restoration Strategy.

Where and What

The Restoration Strategy will cover the Waikato and Waipa River Catchments as defined by the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Act 2010, Ngati Tuwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Arawa River Iwi Waikato River Act 2010, Nga Wai o Maniapoto (Waipa River) Act 2012.
It will consider all non-regulatory activities related to the restoration and protection of the catchment including soil conservation, water quality, biodiversity, pest management, Maatauranga Maori, recreational values and sustainable land management.

Restoration Strategy Detail

The Restoration Strategy will be broken into four core units – Waipa, Upper Waikato, Central and Lower Waikato and Shallow Lakes. A fifth unit considering wetland restoration priorities is being developed by NIWA and will be incorporated into the Restoration Strategy once completed.
Each unit will include the following:

  • Summary of current state
  • Stakeholder aspirations and goals for achieving the Vision and Strategy
  • Identification of locations of risk and opportunity for in-scope matters
  • A prioritised list of actions for achieving catchment goals over the next 5-15 years

Unit based actions will also be prioritised on a whole of catchment basis. This approach will provide guidance to stakeholders working across just one management unit area through to those working across all management units.


The Restoration Strategy will be developed between April 2015 and June 2017. Units will be delivered to the following timeframes:

  • Waipa: April – December 2015
  • Upper Waikato: October 2015 – July 2016
  • Central and Lower Waikato: May 2016 – February 2017
  • Shallow lakes: April 2015 – February 2017

The final strategy will be delivered by the end of June 2017.

Relationship with other Plans and Strategies

The Restoration Strategy will be strongly informed by key existing documents such as Iwi Environmental Management Plans and Fisheries Plans, the Waikato River Independent Scoping Study, Conservation Management Strategies and Regional Council Catchment and Zone Plans.

The Restoration Strategy is being developed concurrently with the Regional Council’s Heathy Rivers: Plan for Change/Wai Ora: He Rautake Whakapaipai project. The latter is a regulatory process arising from statutory obligations for the Waikato Regional Council, whereas the Restoration Strategy is a non-regulatory, non-binding plan for organisations/groups investing in catchment restoration and protection activities. Ultimately both initiatives seek to give effect to the Vision and Strategy, but go about this in different ways
It is intended that the completed strategy will inform the development of future catchment plans, restoration strategies and the funding policies of catchment stakeholders.

Involvement and Information

The Restoration Strategy will be developed in collaboration with the members of the Waikato River Restoration Forum and other stakeholders. The project team will be inviting input into the development of aspirations, goals and management options and into the prioritisation of actions that is undertaken for each unit. If you would like to be involved or want more information and update on the Restoration Strategy you can register your interest by emailing restoration@waikatoriver.org.nz including your name, organisation/affliation and catchment unit of interest.