NZ Landcare Trust and Westpac New Zealand have awarded six grants of $10,000 through the Westpac Watercare Project to support sustainable initiatives for rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands.

The successful grant recipients are: Oratia & Waiatarua Wildlife Project (Upper North Island), Ahuriri Tributaries Catchment Group Trust (Eastern North Island), Moutere Catchment Group (Central New Zealand), Summit Road Society for Avoca Valley Catchment (Canterbury), Teviot Valley Water Care (Otago), and Mid-Oreti Catchment Group (Southland).

The Westpac Watercare Project was established in 2022 by NZ Landcare Trust and Westpac New Zealand and has been successfully supporting regional catchment groups with conservation projects nationwide.

Over the past year, the inaugural 2022 grant recipients have completed extensive waterway improvements including increasing biodiversity through riparian planting, weed and pest animal control, fencing, planting to improve populations of whio (blue ducks) and inanga (a type of whitebait), and water quality monitoring.

NZ Landcare Trust CEO Dr Nick Edgar says the Westpac Watercare Project is a great opportunity for New Zealand catchment groups to achieve some of their environmental goals.

“The Westpac Watercare Project grants provide a tangible boost for catchment groups around the country. The 2023 recipients have a diverse range of goals and we’re looking forward to working the groups to help achieve these,” he says.

“The results from the 2022 round have been impressive with more than 1195 native plants planted, 30,000 ha under predator control, 110 km of river protected, and 173 community members directly involved. We’ve also seen two new water quality monitoring programmes established and two wetlands improved. The Westpac Watercare Project is a wonderful way for NZ Landcare Trust to engage further with our catchment groups, provide expertise and advice, and see some of our groups’ self-identified goals to fruition.”

Partnerships with communities is at the core of the project and Westpac employees provide volunteer support to the catchment groups alongside NZ Landcare Trust’s coordinators.  

Westpac NZ Head of Agribusiness Tim Henshaw says the project has created better environmental outcomes and provided some great volunteer opportunities.

“It’s great to see the 2022 recipients making real headway, and we’re looking forward to seeing the impact this year’s recipients can make. By supporting change at the grassroots level, we’re helping everyday New Zealanders make a difference.

“It’s also been fantastic to see the support for the Westpac Watercare Project across the business. We’ve had 30 of our team use their volunteer days to work on some of the projects, and they’re keen to support the work of the latest recipients over the next year,” he says.

The six recipients of 2023 Westpac Watercare Project grants & their goals:

  • Oratia & Waiatarua Wildlife Project (Upper North Island): Establish fencing of restoration and riparian planting areas; community planting day with iwi; implement staged weed management and restoration planting plan.
  • Ahuriri Tributaries Catchment Group Trust (Eastern North Island): Implement a Mini Freshwater Environmental Plan process for small farms and lifestyle blocks and distribute planting starter packs.
  • Moutere Catchment Group (Central New Zealand): Create two to three new wetlands.
  • Summit Road Society for Avoca Valley Catchment (Canterbury): Restore the bush in the Avoca Valley catchment to create habitat and ecological corridors for native fauna, improve freshwater value, reduce erosion, and sediment run-off, restore mahinga kai and support carbon sequestration.
  • Teviot Valley Water Care (Otago): Create vegetation and silt traps and improve animal crossings at critical source points to catch overland flow in heavy ran events and inform best practice for the rest of the sub-catchments.
  • Mid-Oreti Catchment Group (Southland): Continue the Mini Forest Movement for the 2023/24 planting season and continue propagating our own plants ready to plant in the future.

More information about the partnership and funding can be found here