Winners! Freshwater Champions 2024

This new event, which is a refreshed version of the previous New Zealand Rivers Awards, was attended by hundreds of people at Te Papa in Wellington on 23 May 2024 where the five champions were announced. Two of the five hail from the Katikati region of the Western BOP – landowners and the local community can be justifiably proud of the commitment being made to restoring freshwater health in this area.  The five winners are:

Burke Family, Pukekauri Farms, Katikati, Bay of Plenty
Professor Huhana Smith, Kuku, Horowhenua
Mel McColgan, Te Tauihu (Top of the South)
Moutere Catchment Group, Tasman Bay
Project Parore, Northern Tauranga Harbour

More than 50 nominations from throughout New Zealand were submitted for the awards that are designed to celebrate and share the work being undertaken by groups and individuals to restore and protect the health of rivers, lakes, wetlands and aquifers. The awards are run by Cawthron Institute, supported by NZ Landcare Trust and National Science Challenge, Our Land and Water.

Freshwater Champion assessors commended Project Parore’s strategic approach, clear growth mindset, strong relationships, mix of urban and rural restoration activities and collaboration with science and education providers. Project Parore is a shining example of how to organise and grow a multi-catchment entity that will achieve long-lasting results for many generations.

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