Case Study: Auckland’s Sustainable Catchments Programme

The purpose of the Auckland Council’s Sustainable Catchment Programme is to provide an integrated catchment planning and implementation framework to protect the long term health of receiving environments through iwi and community interventions. With a byline of ‘Weaving Science and Community into action’ the programme uses a range of tools to foster land use practice change including riparian restoration, education, creative engagement, farm plans, incentives, research and walkways. 

The programme currently works in seven identified priority catchments across Auckland. These are: Mahurangi, Whangateau, Kaipara (Hoteo), Greater Tamaki, Henderson – Huruhuru (Project Twin Streams), South Waitematā (Meola, Oakley and Motions) and Manukau (Papakura/Pahurehure). Two of these, the Mahurangi Action Plan and Project Twin Streams, are ten years old this year. 

The figure below provides some highlights of the programme.

Key Area


Regenerating blue-green areas

  • More than 780,000 plants have been planted by Project Twin Streams since 2004. Over half a million of these have been planted by around 78,000 volunteers
  • Co-hosting planting days with a Mahurangi College student and Whangateau Harbour Care to demonstrate riparian restoration best practice and the Wai Care programme at sites in Whangateau and Mahurangi

Enhanced fisheries

  • Annual shellfish monitoring workshops and field work in Whangateau with Mahurangi College and Whangateau Harbour Care.
  • Planting of riparian species providing stream shade and habitat for aquatic species along the Henderson Creek, Opanuku, Oratia, Swanson, Paremuka and Waikumete streams, at La Rosa Reserve, downstream of Miranda Reserve and on the Meola and Oakley Creeks
  • Hoteo catchment work specifically targets sediment reduction into high-value seagrass beds in the Kaipara Harbour located at the mouth of the Hoteo river

Manawhenua integration

  • Trial site of the Ngāti Whatua holistic approach and management on the Anamata stream
  • Mahurangi Catchment Strategic Plan written with and endorsed by Ngāti Whatua o Kaipara.  

Community ownership

  • Community organisations manage work programme in Project Twin Streams catchments
  • Mahurangi community actively involved in planning implementation of the Mahurangi Action Plan strategy
  • Groups in Whangateau planning public land projects with Council

Active land management

  • Over 100 kilometres of stream and wetlands have been fenced and around 900 hectares of land have been protected since 2004 through grants across Mahurangi, Hoteo and Whangateau
  • The grants for fencing and riparian planting are provided to applicants in priority sub-catchments to support land use management changes
  • Ongoing active land management along the five Project Twin Streams catchments and in the South Waitematā catchment with multiple agencies and groups involved
  • Over 50 farm plans written to support rural land management 

Knowledge generation

  • Project Twin Streams community engagement activities are delivered by four community organisations
  • Over 100 creative engagement art projects have been completed by the Project Twin Streams community
  • Erosion and Sediment Control Plans have been produced for the Hoteo, Mahurangi and Whangateau Catchments to guide planning and implementation
  • Community open day to share science in the Hoteo catchment attended by over 100 people 

Last updated at 2:11PM on February 25, 2015