Cows in a field in Ohaupo, Waikato
Image: ALT Group | ©


Our 10-year partnership with Fonterra supports work to enable farming and freshwater to thrive together.

Partnership history and context

The partnership began in 2013 and is active in five significant dairy catchments in Northland, Hauraki, Waikato, Canterbury and Southland. It supports local iwi, scientists, councils, farmers and communities to work together to find ways to reduce contamination and improve the health of their waterways.

Focus of the work

The work is focused on trialling methods that can be taken to scale to create more sustainable dairying and healthier freshwater ecosystems. This includes physical tools that are designed for a specific action in the landscape as well as approaches, processes, ways of working and system changes.

Methods being trialled

Some of the methods being trialled are:

  • fencing, re-shaping banks and planting beside waterways
  • preparing farm environment plans and contaminant intervention plans
  • nutrient and sediment filters
  • in-stream habitat trials
  • land purchase and restoration by a community trust
  • weed and pest control
  • alternative ways to manage drains
  • approaches for managing priorities in a catchment.

What will happen with the results

The results of these trials will inform which methods can be scaled across catchments or regions, how that might be done and how much it could cost. The capacity of the farming sector and communities, and what support would be needed to use the method at a large scale, are important considerations in the trials.

Results will be shared with the agriculture industry, land managers, central and local government, iwi and communities. They will also be incorporated into Fonterra’s on-farm advisory and sustainable catchments programmes and used by DOC's regional teams.

More about the Living Water partnership

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