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Joint Initiative to Secure Water Conservation Order

Press Release – Joint Press Release

Iwi, environment and recreational organisations have joined forces to protect Hawkes Bays Ngaruroro and Clive Rivers with a Water Conservation Order giving it National Park-type protection.22 December 2015

Immediate use

Joint Initiative to Secure Water Conservation Order for Ngaruroro And Clive Rivers

Iwi, environment and recreational organisations have joined forces to protect Hawkes Bay’s Ngaruroro and Clive Rivers with a Water Conservation Order – giving it National Park-type protection.

The group – Fish & Game, Ngati Hori ki Kohupatiki, Forest & Bird, Whitewater NZ and Jet Boating NZ – have today filed a joint application to the Minister for the Environment to have the Water Conservation Order declared.

If successful, it will be only the 16th of New Zealand’s many hundreds of waterways to be protected by a WCO.

“The Ngaruroro and Clive Rivers are special because of their many truly outstanding values,” says Bryce Johnson, Chief Executive of Fish & Game.

“We are confident the Minister will look positively on this joint application and that the successful Water Conservation Order will protect the Ngaruroro and Clive Rivers for the enjoyment of all New Zealanders and the generations to come.”

The Ngaruroro River rises high in the remote Kaimanawa Ranges and twists and turns through the mountains until it emerges onto the Heretaunga plains at Whanawhana. It flows through Hawke’s Bay into the Pacific Ocean at Clive, just south of Napier.

The application seeks to protect the Ngaruroro catchment from the source to the sea in its near-natural state and will not displace existing operative water resource consents in the catchment. The Clive River is included in the WCO because it is the old bed of the Ngaruroro at the mouth.

A Water Conservation Order is the highest level of protection which can be given to a river or lake, similar to that enjoyed by National Parks. The orders are designed to preserve a waterway’s outstanding natural values for fish, wildlife, outdoor recreation and cultural purposes.

The five organisations behind the initiative believe the Ngaruroro and Clive Rivers meet the criteria for a Water Conservation Order because of their outstanding natural values, varied landscapes, wildlife habitat, cultural and recreational values.

Ngati Hori ki Kohupatiki says it is backing the application because of the Ngaururo’s cultural importance to Hawke’s Bay Maori.

“This application recognises the Ngaruroro’s significance to Ngati Hori, and Ngati Kahungunu generally, and strengthens our hapu’s efforts to restore the mana and mauri of these waterways,” says Margaret McGuire, Chairperson of Ngati Hori ki Kohupatiki.

The five WCO applicants are already working closely with Ngati Kahungunu in the iwi’s kaitiaki role.
The river is also highly valued by outdoor recreationists for its fishing, whitewater kayaking, rafting and jet boating challenges.

Dr Doug Rankin, Whitewater NZ’s Conservation Officer, says that the upper Ngaruroro is a wonderful and challenging river.

“This stretch of the river provides two of the most outstanding multi-day whitewater rafting and kayaking trips in New Zealand. A Water Conservation Order will ensure this incredible resource is available for future generations to enjoy.”

Fish & Game’s Bryce Johnson says anglers treasure the upper Ngaruroro catchment because of its outstanding backcountry rainbow trout fishery, spectacular scenery and some of the clearest water in the country.

“Compared to most other rivers in New Zealand, particularly lowland waterways, water quality in the Ngaruroro River from source to sea is still very good,” says Mr Johnson.

“The five parties responsible for the Water Conservation Order application want to ensure this water quality is protected.

For Forest & Bird Hawke’s Bay Chairman, Vaughan Cooper, the river is a unique and outstanding habitat worthy of protection.

“Braided rivers are very rare in the North Island, which makes them especially important nationally. As such they therefore comprise very special habitat for equally rare species of indigenous birds and freshwater fish”, says Mr Cooper.

And when it comes to jet boating, the Ngaruroro offers a range of experiences from long run braided river boating through to challenging mountain gorges.

“The river offers something for every level of boater, from family boating in scenic surroundings through to boating for the skilled operator, all in the one river system”, says Brian Eccles, spokesperson for Jet Boating New Zealand.

“The Ngaruroro is an exceptional jet boating river”.

“The application our group has made to the Minister today is backed by a substantial volume of evidence which makes a very strong case for a Water Conservation Order on the Ngaruroro and Clive. We are confident this large body of evidence will result in the Minister accepting our application and initiating the inquiry process,” says Mr Johnson.

Once the Minister accepts an application for a Water Conservation Order, a special tribunal will be set up to examine the case for a WCO and invite submissions from the public and special interest groups.

The tribunal will then hold a hearing and the Ngaruroro applicants are optimistic it will be able to make a decision within a year.


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