Community-led action to replenish the
whenua and health of the Waihi Estuary

Wai Kōkopu

Wai Kōkopu is a community-led programme of action to replenish and revitalise the health of the Waihi Estuary. It involves catchment-wide innovation, enlightened thinking, strong leadership, the passion within our local communities and the harnessing of collective action.

Become a member

  • Monthly pānui/newsletter
  • Vote for future Board members in September
  • Invitations to events and volunteer opportunities
  • Have input into how we prioritise funding 
  • Easily access advice, support and funding for restoration works on your property

The Waihi Estuary, Bay of Plenty 3189

Our focus

This programme focuses on environmental initiatives at a farm, sub-catchment and catchment level with an overarching objective of improving water quality in the Waihī Catchment waterways. By fostering awareness and shared responsibility for the health of the Waihī Estuary, we hope to influence better practices, decisions and outcomes for the lands, waters, biodiversity and community within the Waihī Estuary Catchment.

Why is Wai Kōkopu needed?

The Waihi estuary, is in a poor and declining ecological state and does not consistently meet guidelines for safe swimming and shellfish gathering. 

Significant reductions of contaminants (between 30% and 60% for nutrients) and E.coli (50%) are needed to return the Waihi Estuary to a healthy ecological state. 

Read more about the science & estuary health

This is a significant undertaking and no single organisation, working in partnership with hau kāinga (the three local kāinga/marae communities), can create large-scale and long term environmental or social change in isolation.

A need for change in the way we operate

Restoration of the Waihi Estuary will take a change of heart from how we have operated in New Zealand for the last 160 years. This transformational shift needs to be underpinned by customary local knowledge or whakapapa systems, returning the whenua (soils, waterways, biodiversity) of the Waihi Estuary to wellness, which is transparent and supported by democratised data, with real time feedback, providing health measures to the catchment community. 

Instead of industry sectors working in silos and against one another, this is a call to action for industry groups to come together and be of service to the communities partnered with hau kāinga. Actions will be measured, documented in GIS systems, cumulatively monitored and made available in real time.

When the kōkopu, are flourishing from the sea to the mountains
and our estuary is rich with giant pīpī again,
we will then know the Waihi Estuary is returning to good health.

Our long-term measures of success are simple:
When kōkopu, are abundant and flourishing from the full length of the arterial waterways that feed into the Waihi Estuary, from the sea to the mountains of the volcanic plateau, when giant pīpī are healthy and thriving at the river mouth and safe to eat at all times, we will then know the Waihi Estuary is returning to good health.

What does the Governance Group do?

Wai Kōkopu Incorporated has been established to provide the strategic direction as well as govern and manage the programme of work across the wider Waihi Estuary Catchment. 

Contact us

You can become a member of the Wai Kōkopu Incorporated and join our mailing list to hear of upcoming opportunities to be involved.

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The Waihi Estuary

Bay of Plenty

Get involved

You can become a member of the Wai Kōkopu Incorporated and join our mailing list to hear of upcoming opportunities to be involved.