Introducing the BFEA Catchment Group Award Entrants from the East Coast and Bay of Plenty Regions


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The New Zealand Farm Environment Trust (NZFET) is delighted to announce the Catchment Group Award Entrants for the Bay of Plenty and East Coast regions Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

The Catchment Group Award is supported by a new partnership between the NZ Farm Environment Trust and NZ Landcare Trust and is designed to showcase and celebrate the great work being done by catchment groups throughout the country.

“We are pleased to introduce this new Catchment Group award that recognises the efforts of a rural community working together to improve water quality in local rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands,” said NZ Farm Environment Trust Chair Joanne van Polanen. “This new initiative has been well supported throughout the country with catchment groups from north to south participating in this year’s awards programme. It is great to be able to share the great work they are doing and inspire others.”

The Catchment Group Awards winners will be announced at the upcoming regional Ballance Farm Environment Awards functions in June and July. Dates are available here.

East Coast:

Tukipo Catchment Care Group – Hawkes Bay

Initially formed in 2018 by local farmer Rob Barry, farmers and landowners have taken the opportunity to work collaboratively in the Tukipo Catchment Care Group (TCCG), the first of 17 sub-catchments in the Tukituki with a community led sub-catchment group.

At present 90% of the landowners across the Tukipo sub-catchment are involved in the catchment group. This includes a diverse range of farming and growing operations including sheep, beef, deer, dairy, poultry, viticulture and arable.

The group’s vision statement is “Enhancing the Environment – Thriving Community” and they aim to be advocates for their environment and community, leaders in sustainable farming practices, improve water quality, increase biodiversity and coordinate pest and weed control.

Some of their achievements include the construction of a large scale wetland being used to monitor the impacts on nutrient reduction, water quality and biodiversity enhancement projects, riparian planting, pest control and further wetland construction. In addition the group has held a series of well-attended workshops, organised hunting competitions for pest control and established a nursery using locally sourced seed.

The catchment group entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards to lift their public profile, get feedback to inform their next steps and help determine  other opportunities there are to help support farmers to continue their great work improving their  environmental footprint. They are also looking forward to meeting other catchment groups and learning from their experiences. 

Mōtū River Catchment Group – Gisborne

Established in 2018, this catchment group has grown from a small group of proactive and passionate farmers to a thriving group now incorporating 23 properties.

Their vision is that the Mōtū River catchment supports the recreational and economic aspirations of the community and is a treasure/ taonga that all can enjoy. New members are regularly joining the catchment group which covers approximately 14,441 Ha, as they see what the group are achieving.

Mōtū River Catchment Group see their biggest achievements as having erosion control plans and farm environment plans for almost all properties. Additionally the group has regularly surveyed water quality, held field days with the wider community and planted more than 100,0000 plants and installed 30km of waterway fencing.

They entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards to recognise the fantastic work being done by this group of passionate farmers and to raise the profile of their work in the hope of providing inspiration and ideas for other catchment groups.

Their future activities include further work on riverbank erosion, securing funding for predator control traps, and the possible opportunity to create a native fish nursery to enhance the population of native fish species.

Bay of Plenty:

Uretara Estuary Managers Inc (Project Parore) – Bay of Plenty

What began in 1999 as a group of concerned community members looking to improve the health of the estuary and environs near Katikati has expanded today to include all nine stream catchments that enter the northern Tauranga Harbour.

The catchment group’s main objectives include conservation activities, supporting local recreational opportunities and enhancing indigenous biodiversity.

To date, they have catchment plans in place with 25 properties within the Te Mania Stream catchment and a further 12 plans for the larger properties within the other catchment areas.

A founding member of the Bay Conservation Alliance, Project Parore sees some of their biggest achievements as the implementation of Catchment Management Plans and work to assess the health of the estuary and waterways. They have also carried out remediation to fish passage in the local streams, planted many kilometres of riparian planting in partnership with landowners, assisted with the development of 5Ha of new wetlands and identified endangered species throughout their catchment including long-tailed bats and rifleman.

This catchment group entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards as they want to share the good news stories with the public and farmers to show that profitable farms, through good land management, and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive.

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