Our work - the what, how and where

Water habitat improvement - the what

In essence, the Waiau Trust focuses on the habitat enhancement of Waterways, Wetlands and Riparian Margins – this enhancement is the Trust's number ONE priority.

“Sub-catchment by Sub-catchment” and “Headwaters to Confluence” – A Step by Step Approach

Headwater wetlands, bush blocks and gully systems feed springs and small streams. These small streams and their catchments become large waterways and catchments which eventually flow into the major lakes and rivers.

Enhancing these habitat types and sequences and their riparian margins in small sub-catchments (from the headwaters to the confluence with the next waterway), means over time enhancement of whole systems from top to bottom can be achieved. Eventually, such an approach produces cumulative catchment-wide benefits for fisheries and wildlife and improvement of water quantity and quality.

Property boundaries are irrelevant to ecosystems. The management of waterways, gullies, bush blocks and wetlands on individual farm properties matters to the overall ecosystem health.

Electric fishing upper MararoaMonitoring the outcome is a vital part of the process. Here two Trust members use electric fishing to count and categorise water fauna.

Methods of habitat enhancement - the how

When we engage in habitat enhancement, the main emphasis is on waterways and wetlands.


  • fencing of streams and their riparian margins,
  • removal of stock grazing from riparian margins of streams,
  • protecting native headwater and riparian vegetation,
  • riparian planting of streams for shade and shelter,
  • restoring hydraulic linkages,
  • pest plant and pest animal control.


  • creation of open water habitats,
  • protecting natural wetlands,
  • retaining native vegetation,
  • fencing of wetlands and their riparian margins,
  • removal of stock grazing from riparian margins of wetlands,
  • cessation of drainage and burning activities,
  • blocking of drains and restoring wetland water levels,
  • restoring hydraulic linkages between wetlands and streams,
  • pest plant and pest animal control.

Map of Trust projects - the where

Throughout the Waiau catchment the trust undertakes a variety of projects. In addition to the 4 main restoration projects (labeled 1-4 on the map) projects can be categorised into 4 main types:

Habitat enhancement,
Habitat projects,
Access projects
Joint Waiau Trust / QEII Trust projects

    Waiau Trust project map