Our Bream Bay Catchment Groups

Catchment groups represent a pivotal opportunity for New Zealand to address longstanding concerns about unhealthy waterways, a top environmental priority for over 25 years. The well-being of our native freshwater fish and biodiversity is at risk due to pressures intensified by humans and land management practices. Nationwide, more than 300 catchment groups, initiated by farmers, landowners, and local communities, have emerged as collaborative efforts to improve and maintain the health of shared waterways. These groups, through community engagement, adoption of measurable objectives, and sustainable land-use practices, form a network fostering healthy riparian zones beneficial to people and native freshwater ecosystems.

In 2022, a vision was born along the Ahuroa River as over 40 farmers initiated catchment groups, marking the beginning of an inspiring journey in Northland toward waterway conservation. Supported by Ministry for Primary Industries, the Piroa Conservation Trust embarks on a transformative project.

Key partners, including Patuharakeke Taiao unit, Whitebait Connection, Fonterra, Dairy NZ, NZ Landcare Trust, Northland Regional Council, Whangarei District Council, and the Department of Conservation, join forces in our collective mission to accelerate on-land management changes through a sustainable, community-led catchment model. Together, we work at improving freshwater quality and habitat for Bream Bay’s unique taonga species.

Our primary responsibility is to cultivate knowledge and confidence among farmers and landowners to implement on-farm changes and environmental plans across the Bream Bay freshwater catchments, utilizing community-led catchment groups. The challenges we address include erosion, sediment, e-coli, and rising water temperatures.
Piroa Conservation Trust currently collaborates with four catchment groups in the Bream Bay Area:
- Waionehui Stream
- Pohuenui River
- Ruakaka Forest
- Ahuroa/Millbrook Stream



Latest News & Events

Wetlands for Wellness

Insights from the Wetland Demonstration Field Day.
The Wetland Demonstration Field Day, hosted by the Piroa Conservation Trust on November 29 in Waipu, brought together 35 farmers and lifestyle block owners. The event aimed to foster discussions on the environmental and biodiversity benefits of effective wetland design. 
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Patons Demonstration Wetland

A Wetland Demonstration site has being created on Bruce and Julie Patons farm to highlight the potential benefits of fencing off the wet soakage areas at the base of hills.
On Northland clay hills at the base of most gullies is a boggy soakage area, before it spreads onto the flat land. Read More

Thanks Westpac & Richie!

Our big vision is to provide shade and shelter for native fish to thrive again and improve water quality. Westpac Ambassador, Richie McCaw, came along and planted 20 kowhai and titoki trees along the river bank on a farm near Waipū to start the project off in April.
Read More

Waipu River Restoration Project.

In May, over twelve hundred native trees were planted along the banks of a tributary of the Waipu River, on an area of the Goddard farm. Originally estimated to require up to two full days for completion, the extraordinary efforts of the volunteers allowed for the entire planting to be accomplished in a single day.  Read more

Fish Passage & Stream Health

Fish passage improvement by fixing culverts and weirs can prevent migratory fish from accessing their natural habitats. We can help landowners identify fish barriers and put in fish ladders and other solutions to fix them.
Monitor stream health...
We have the capability to test and assess the state of health of our water ways. This can be done in a variety of ways some of which require a long period of regular water sampling using a SMAak kit from NIWA or paying for an MCI (Macroinvertebrate community index) samples are done by a lab.
Read more or more on eDNA here

Our catchment coordinator

Graham is our dedicated catchment coordinator -  he was attracted to the role, because the primary focus is on local catchment groups to achieve the desired outcomes.
Graham facilitates the process and helps with strategies, monitoring, funding and implementing farm environmental plans. If you are keen to join a catchment group of landowners who support each other to improve the health of their waterways. Contact Graham by email click

Farm Environmental Plans & Regulatory Requirements

We continue to build a knowledge resource of best farm land practices and what the future regulations will require.
We work with NRC in their endeavour to help farmers improve and protect their waterways, specifically fencing and planting. NRC has a fund to support this work in a collaborative funding approach. We can help farmers request this support.
Get in touch

Waipu Nursery

We continue to build and maintain a community nursery to grow plants needed for riparian planting on the water ways of the Waipu area and are always on the lookout for new volunteers and resources. If you’d like to be involved at any level, please get in touch. Here is where you may help. If you have plastic plant pots that you can donate please drop them to 16 The Braigh Waipu. Do you have any seedlings such as mānuka, kānuka, titoki or other natives we can propagate? Or do you want to be part of a small group that meets for a few hours a week to look after the nursery? Get in touch

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