Help us protect the Ngaruroro River

New Zealand has a special river in trouble and it's one of the few braided rivers remaining in the North Island. You can help to save it. The Minister for the Environment Nick Smith recently accepted an application from Forest & Bird to protect the Ngaruroro River with a water Conservation order (WCO) and a special tribunal will be appointed to decide on the outcome.

To help fight for the Ngaruroro, Forest & Bird must call on expert witnesses to support the case for the river to be specially protected. Please help fight for your freshwater by making a donation below to pay for the evidence on why this precious river must be protected. We need to raise $60,000 to pay for expert witnesses by the end of August. A WCO is the highest level of protection that can be given to a river or lake and will give the Ngaruroro River protection equivalent to a national park. 

New Zealand's freshwater is being degraded. Two thirds of our lowland rivers will make you sick if you swim in them. We don't want the Ngaruroro to deteriate any further. High water extraction to irrigate the Heretaunga Plains and flood protection measures by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council places a heavy burden on the Ngaruroro - threatening the health of your freshwater and the many native species that make it their home. It is one of the most iconic rivers in the North Island. It flows 164 kilometres from its source in the Kaimanawa and Kaweka ranges to the Pacific Ocean between Napier and Hastings via the Waitangi Estuary.

Please make a donation to help save this incredible river. 

Please help defend nature by making a donation today.


The Ngaruroro River possesses a range of outstanding
characteristics, features and values that are worth fighting
to protect – they include: a habitat for native bird species
(28 endemic and 44 native species) and 27 of those are classified
as threatened or at risk of extinction in the wild.Twenty-two
native birds breed or over winter and along the main-stem river
or its tributaries and one of those is the nationally vulnerable
banded dotterel and the nationally endangered black billed
gull and a freshwater habitat for 13 endemic 
native fish and
9 native species of which 8 species are at risk or declining.



Forest & Bird is not alone in fighting for a Water Conservation Order (WCO) for the river. We are partners with Fish & Game, Whitewater New Zealand, Jet Boating New Zealand and Ngāti Hori ki Kohupātiki. Together we are sharing the costs and presenting one unified voice for nature.

Each partner in the WCO application is speaking up for a particular part of the river. Forest & Bird is focussed on the lower reaches from Whanawhana downstream to the inland limit of the coastal marine areas near Fernhill, due to the outstanding biodiversity values of this unique braided river ecosystem. If successful the Ngaruroro will be only the 16th river to be protected by a WCO.

Together with you help, we will keep fighting for the protection and restoration of freshwater. More than 3,000 people just like you spoke up to defend freshwater earlier this year when the Government issued a discussion paper that threatened the ability to protect rivers like the Ngaruroro.