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


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

The partnership ran from 2013 to 2023 and was active in five significant dairy catchments in Northland, Hauraki, Waikato, Canterbury and Southland. It supported local iwi, scientists, councils, farmers and communities to work together to find ways to reduce contamination and improve the health of their waterways.

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

Some of the methods trialled were:

  • 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.

The results of these trials informed which methods can be scaled across catchments or regions, how that might be done and how much it could cost. 

Results were shared with the agriculture industry, land managers, central and local government, iwi and communities. They were also 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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