River funding also aims to boost post-Covid recovery

The latest funding to improve the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River and
Waipā River is also expected to give an economic boost to local river communities.

The Waikato River Authority has this week increased its annual funding for river
clean-up projects above what was expected, in part to ensure support for
environmental and iwi groups recovering from the financial impacts of Covid-19.

A total of $6.2 million has been allocated to 38 projects.

Waikato River Authority Crown Co-Chair, Paula Southgate, says the Authority’s 2020
funding round has been one of its most successful in 10 years of operation.
“The Authority board was pleased to be able to increase the level of funding it has
made available. This was due to the strength and quality of the applications to carry
out river restoration and also the desire by the board to support river communities.”
Ms Southgate says ensuring prosperous communities is an integral part of the Vision
& Strategy for the Waikato River.

Iwi Co-Chair, Roger Pikia, says the funding round has also been notable for the
impressive number of iwi projects successfully funded. “We’ve seen the number of
applications from iwi grow over recent years and the number of applicants
partnering with iwi has also increased. That trend has continued this year with 16 iwi
led projects receiving $3.2 million he says. Mr Pikia says there has also been strong
alignment with the Authority’s funding strategy with a priority for wetland

Among the projects funded this year is the restoration of Lake Kimihia north of
Huntly, now highly visible from the Huntly by-pass expressway. The project is being
led by Waikato Regional Council with strong support from Waikato-Tainui, the
Department of Convervation and local landowners. The project involves raising the
level of the lake and undertaking restoration of wetland margins.

Pūniu River Care has also been funded nearly $600,000 to carry out a series of
environmental projects focussed in Waipā River catchment.