Te Hakapupu Restoration Project

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The Te Hakapupu (Pleasant River Catchment) Restoration Project is a four-year work programme to address sedimentation and nutrient inputs to better safeguard biodiversity and natural water resources.


The project will be managed and administered by ORC in partnership with Mana Whenua; Kati Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki and in collaboration with catchment stakeholders and community groups and takes a summit to sea restoration approach.

Funding includes $4,004,500 from the Ministry for the Environment’s Jobs for Nature fund which makes up the bulk of the $5,290,500 project cost to identify, plan and implement actions to restore the catchment, in partnership with Rūnaka and the wider community.

The project is expected to create up to 40 jobs including roles focused on undertaking fencing, planting and plant maintenance in the local community, alongside project delivery and evaluation.

Over the next year, we will gather baseline data on the environmental parameters in the catchment to better understand the biodiversity, sediment, fish habitat and water quality issues. These parameters will be monitored over time to enable assessment of the actions that will take place to improve or protect the environment.

An overarching, living Catchment Management and Restoration Plan will be developed to guide activities with the objective of improving environmental parameters over the long term and will reflect Mana Whenua and community aspirations.

The Te Hakapupu (Pleasant River catchment) community will be consulted and assisted to create and implement Sediment Mitigation Plans. This includes active engagement with the forestry sector to ensure that best practice forestry harvesting is undertaken to reduce sediment production.

On-the-ground mitigation will include installing fencing around waterways, planting over 100,000 native trees, restoring fish passage in the catchment, and a range of other potential actions to stop environmental damage for example sediment traps, bank stabilisation, wetland restoration, and riparian buffers in forestry areas.

About the catchment

Te Hakapupu (Pleasant River catchment) is 13,000 hectares including Watkin Creek, Trotter Creek and the Pleasant River and crosses the Dunedin City Council and Waitaki City Council boundaries.

The land in this catchment is mostly used for forestry, livestock farming and some dairy.

The landscape includes mountains through mid-country hills down through wetlands and the estuary to the sea. The catchment has high sediment and nutrient outputs into Te Hakapupu estuary.

There are signs the biological health of the estuary is suffering, such as dense algal mats, anoxic water conditions and muddy sediment with potential biodiversity loss and loss of mahinga kai values.

The Te Hakapupu (Pleasant River Catchment) Restoration Project is a four-year work programme to address sedimentation and nutrient inputs to better safeguard biodiversity and natural water resources.


The project will be managed and administered by ORC in partnership with Mana Whenua; Kati Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki and in collaboration with catchment stakeholders and community groups and takes a summit to sea restoration approach.

Funding includes $4,004,500 from the Ministry for the Environment’s Jobs for Nature fund which makes up the bulk of the $5,290,500 project cost to identify, plan and implement actions to restore the catchment, in partnership with Rūnaka and the wider community.

The project is expected to create up to 40 jobs including roles focused on undertaking fencing, planting and plant maintenance in the local community, alongside project delivery and evaluation.

Over the next year, we will gather baseline data on the environmental parameters in the catchment to better understand the biodiversity, sediment, fish habitat and water quality issues. These parameters will be monitored over time to enable assessment of the actions that will take place to improve or protect the environment.

An overarching, living Catchment Management and Restoration Plan will be developed to guide activities with the objective of improving environmental parameters over the long term and will reflect Mana Whenua and community aspirations.

The Te Hakapupu (Pleasant River catchment) community will be consulted and assisted to create and implement Sediment Mitigation Plans. This includes active engagement with the forestry sector to ensure that best practice forestry harvesting is undertaken to reduce sediment production.

On-the-ground mitigation will include installing fencing around waterways, planting over 100,000 native trees, restoring fish passage in the catchment, and a range of other potential actions to stop environmental damage for example sediment traps, bank stabilisation, wetland restoration, and riparian buffers in forestry areas.

About the catchment

Te Hakapupu (Pleasant River catchment) is 13,000 hectares including Watkin Creek, Trotter Creek and the Pleasant River and crosses the Dunedin City Council and Waitaki City Council boundaries.

The land in this catchment is mostly used for forestry, livestock farming and some dairy.

The landscape includes mountains through mid-country hills down through wetlands and the estuary to the sea. The catchment has high sediment and nutrient outputs into Te Hakapupu estuary.

There are signs the biological health of the estuary is suffering, such as dense algal mats, anoxic water conditions and muddy sediment with potential biodiversity loss and loss of mahinga kai values.

  • Otago Regional Council welcomes over $4m in funding to restore Te Hakapupu / Pleasant River Catchment

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    by Shayde.Bain,

    The funding is for a four-year work programme to address sedimentation and nutrient inputs and better safeguard the natural water resources in partnership with Mana Whenua and in collaboration with local catchment and community groups.

    $4,004,500 from the Ministry for the Environment’s Jobs for Nature will make up the bulk of the $5,290,500 project cost to identify, plan and implement actions to restore the catchment north of Waikouaiti.

    Manager Environmental Implementation Andrea Howard said there were signs the health of the catchment had degraded.

    “Te Hakapupu is showing signs of excess sedimentation and nutrients, which impacts on ecosystem habitat and health, cultural values, as well as reducing recreation and amenity values. These signs include areas of dense algal mats, anoxic water conditions, and muddy sediment around the estuary”.

    “Changing land use in the area over time has contributed to sediment and nutrients entering the waterways. Erosion which is associated with land clearance and weather events has also exacerbated sediment issues in the catchment.”

    ORC, and its project partners, will take a number of steps over the next four years to set the restoration of Te Hakapupu in motion, Ms Howard said.

    “Over the next year, we will gather baseline data on the catchment to better understand the sediment, fish habitat and water quality issues, as well as creating an overarching Catchment Management Plan, to guide activities that will improve water quality. Throughout the course of the project, we’ll be working actively with the forestry sector to ensure that best practice forestry harvesting is undertaken to reduce sediment loss. We will also work with landowners to create and implement Sediment Mitigation Plans.”

    “Finally, by June 2025, we will have implemented on-the-ground mitigation activities in line with the catchment plan. This is expected to include installing 60km of fencing, planting over 100,000 native trees, restoring fish passage in the catchment, and a range of other potential remediation actions – like sediment traps, bank stabilisation, wetland restoration, and riparian buffers in forestry areas.”

    Ms Howard said the project would progress in partnership with local rūnaka and with collaboration from the East Otago Catchment group and wider community.

    “We are very grateful to the Ministry for the Environment and the Jobs for Nature programme for the support, and we’re looking forward to the next four years of practical, measurable environmental enhancements to restore Te Hakapupu,” she said.

    Click here to see the funding announcement from Minister for the Environment Hon David Parker.

Page last updated: 19 May 2022, 02:50 PM