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What is a catchment? A catchment, or whaitua, is an area of land around a river,
lake or other body of water. A healthy water catchment supports swimming,
fishing, and local ecosystems. Find your catchment at NZ River maps

Join a catchment restoration group

Local community involvement is one of the keys to the long-term health of water in a catchment, so plants, animals, fish and insects that depend on having healthy water can thrive and flourish.

Start a catchment group


If there’s no existing group supporting your catchment, it’s possible to start one yourself, and there are plenty of resources to help. The best way to improve water quality in your catchment is to get everyone who lives along it together, identify problems and come up with collective solutions.

Get involved in catchment planning

Your regional council is responsible for decisions about the freshwater catchments, lakes and rivers in your region. If you’re interested in how your local river or lake is being managed, we encourage you to find out more about what your regional council is doing and get involved.

  • Many councils run full collaborative planning processes to make planning decisions about fresh water. Keep an eye on your regional council website for opportunities to be involved.
  • When a regional council makes or changes a regional plan it is required to notify the public. That’s your opportunity to make a submission. You can also sometimes make submissions on individual resource consent applications.
  • Beef and Lamb NZ has advice on its website for those who would like to influence regional council decision-makers (audio | PDF).
  • Find out about your local council’s plan for implementing the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (Freshwater NPS) on the Ministry for Environment’s website.
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