• This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wai Connection

 WC logo

Wai Connection - Connecting with Community Catchment Groups

Visit the Wai Connection website at https://www.waiconnection.nz/


 We’re really pleased to announce that Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust is receiving funding from the Essential Freshwater Fund (EFF) to build capability and capacity in New Zealand's freshwater management through to June 2025. MTSCT are leading a nationwide project called ‘Wai Connection – Tatai Ki Te Wai’. ‘Wai Connection – Tatai Ki Te Wai’ is a catchment community engagement project offering on-the-ground support to assist with catchment issues through tailored change at source. “It exists to support and build community involvement, equity, and a shared vision of ecological sustainability as the basis of a healthy community” says MTSCT Co-Director Kim Jones.

The project helps empower communities through providing knowledge, tools and expert support to help identify values and solve issues in their local catchment. The project helps to support communities to connect more with their waterways from mountains to sea, and promote collaboration between local catchment groups, NGO’s, hapū/iwi, Regional Council, central Government and primary industry working within the catchment – helpingdeliver the goals of the Government’s Essential Freshwater (EF) work package.

Since 2001, thanks to strong partnerships with place-based Mountains to Sea provider organisations, our Mountains to Sea programmes have: planted over 132,000 trees along waterways, engaged over 120,000 people in monitoring their river health, helped identify and restore over 140 īnanga spawning sites, taken over 160,000 people snorkelling, and delivered over 370 public community guided snorkel/kayak days – guiding over 87,000 in total through our marine reserves to help them better understand the ecosystem. Information has been transferred into the wider community by over 1,000 media articles. Over 284,000 volunteer hours have been contributed to our programmes. Our annual wānanga has attracted the attendance of over 700 people. The total reach for our direct engagement is over 350,000 people. ‘Wai Connection’ will accelerate this impact and build on the existing network we have built with our partners since 2001.

“We’re hoping groups can help by providing location details about their local community catchment groups/collectives, so we can identify where existing catchment groups are operating and where catchments currently do not have any catchment groups” says Jones. This will build on data already available. So far, we have amassed a list with over 800 entries (including a mix of urban and rural groups, and covering a wide variety of group types/purposes such as catchment groups, estuary/harbour/coastal groups, community groups, outreach/education groups, species specific groups, planting groups, pest control groups). To date, we have found no one website or source of information that houses that information in one place. We also expect that there will be other existing or new groups out there that are not listed on existing sites, hence the reason for this survey!

MTS imageMountains to Sea Conservation Trust deliver community engagement, science and conservation from the mountains to the sea













The ‘mountains-to-sea’ approach for ‘Wai Connection’ is about connecting the entire catchment with their waterway, so whilst a ‘Wai Connection’ Coordinator might be working directly with a specific catchment group, they will also be wanting to find ways to connect to people in the wider catchment. One way to help with that is to have a database/map of all the groups that are active in their catchment, and then
each ‘Wai Connection’ Coordinator can contact them to see how they can collaborate for catchment-wide events and projects. This information will also be referred to by the project’s regional coordinators in conversations with their Regional Council and local community catchment groups, when they are discussing how ‘Wai Connection’ can support catchments and their communities. The impact of such a centralised system is huge so your help will be needed for us to build it. Once collated, the information will be publicly available on the Wai Connection website for all to access.

We’ve produced an online form to make it easy for you to enter details about your community catchment group, including an approximate location. We really appreciate you taking the time to help us develop this important resource. Don’t hesitate to contact Kim Jones at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Nathan McKinley at EOS Ecology (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) for any additional information about the online form. Part of EOS Ecology’s role within ‘Wai Connection’ is to provide technical GIS, science support, and resource development for the project at a national level.

TOC imageOur Theory of Change model. Wai Connection will accelerate this impact and build on the existing network we have built with our partners since 2001.