About Us

What are we all about?

A proactive community group striving to improve water quality and protect native species. We are landowners and residents who live on the western side of the Firth of Thames, Aotearoa New Zealand.

Our Catchments
Waharau, Pūkorokoro, Waitakaruru

The Western Firth catchment was conceived with the goal to cover approximately 26,000 ha in area, or 13 sub-catchments. These encompass farms and waterways from the Auckland city boundary just north of Kaiaua to as far south as Waitakaruru. Freshwater from the catchment eventually meets the marine environment in the Firth of Thames which is an important habitat for wildlife including many native and migratory birds, fish, and other sea life. Pūkorokoro is the home of the internationally famous Pūkorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre and the related wildlife reserve.

Our Story
A grass-roots community collaboration.

A few years ago Waikato District Council informed landowners in our area that they were required to have a catchment management plan and proposed an increase in rates if this wasn’t created and implemented. A framework as to how this would be achieved was not provided by them, however. Subsequently, as part of the Waikato Regional Council Proposed Plan Change 1 water plan (PPC1), binding conditions for farming practices were introduced to mitigate potential adverse effects on water quality. Without any clear guidance on how to comply with these changes, a group of concerned landowners got together and decided to take some initiative and take control of the situation. The Western Firth Catchment Group (WFCG) was hence established, initially to manage and coordinate the planting of riparian zones adjacent to streams on our properties.

Shortly after our formation, we became aware of an initiative called Living Water, a partnership between the Department of Conservation and Fonterra, who had done a lot of analytical and survey work in the catchment area. This was the catalyst for getting us started in earnest. We were interested in getting involved in this type of work and were keen to expand surveys to other areas of the catchment. In order to accept funding to carry out this work, we formed a charitable trust and teamed up with Living Water to identify and ultimately reduce environmental risks in the catchment area.

Partners & Supporters
Thank you to all involved on this project!

The below organisations have helped provide a good combination of financial, advisory and sharing of resources to help us achieve our goals. Partners and supporters to-date include:

Have a question or just want to be kept in the loop?
Contact us at info@westernfirth.org.nz and we'll put you in touch with someone who can help and/or we can get you updates via our mailing list.