Coastal Otago Department of Conservation (DoC)
Over time River Estuary Care and DoC have cooperated in project work. DoC Conservation Corps joined us for large scale planting days. We helped participants understand the river and estuary systems and how community groups work. River-Estuary Care: Waikouaiti-Karitane was the first recipient of the Otago Conservation Award. We were awarded a significant Community Conservation Grant in 2009 resulting in a major habitat restoration project (6000 native plants) on DoC land adjacent to the Merton Tidal Arm of the estuary. Current support includes short term loans of tools and equipment for twice yearly large scale habitat restoration efforts. DoC provides helpful advice and information. DoC featured River-Estuary Care based Ki uta ki tai: Volunteer week during national Volunteer Week. Our work and organization is featured on DoC's website http://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/habitats/estuaries/
University of Otago Marine Science Department
Students and faculty from the Marine Science Department consistently work with River-Estuary Care: Waikouaiti-Karitane. We work as a conduit for students - seeking community ideas for their research, connecting them up with local experts and resources, and appreciating the yearly "Research Evening" at our local marae to learn about their findings.
Kāti Huirapa ki Puketeraki Rūnaka
From it's inception River-Estuary Care: Waikouaiti-Karitane has worked with the rūnaka. We collaborate on major projects such as Ki uta ki tai: Volunteer Week, a shared shade house/nursery project and cooperative efforts in field research, supporting one another's projects and getting "stuck in" to common habitat restoration projects.
He Pātaka Waiora Project
This amazing project, based at Kati Huirapa ki Puketeraki, carried out four season baseline water sampling on the Waikouaiti River. The research team out in all kinds of weather gathered samples and measured dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity, and nutrients. They also looked at physical processes brought on by the formation of shallow residual pools of high salinity.
Ki uta ki tai: Volunteer Week
Developed in 2011, four groups involved in conservation work collaborate on this 4 day residential marae-based volunteer programme. Volunteers help with habitat restoration and local fisheries management projects organized by Kāti Huirapa ki Puketeraki, the Hawksbury Lagoon Group, the East Otago Taiapure Committee and River-Estuary Care: Waikouaiti-Karitane. Twice a year (April/May and September/October) volunteers help community members with their conservation work, learn how grass roots community conservation works and are welcomed to our community. In appreciation we offer to share our home cooking, guided walks, a traditional Māori weaving workshop and time on the estuary paddling waka ama. Because of this concentrated effort and extra volunteer help we have been able to scale up restoration planting and fisheries work.
Since 1999 the Karitane School has played an active role in learning about the river and estuary through River Estuary Care-organized field outings with guides from The Department of Conservation (whitebait specialist), an insect hunt (with an insect and butterfly specialist) and native fish trapping (with a fresh water biologist from Working Waters Trust). Every year the school kids join community members for a special time out planting along the river.
Otago Regional Council (ORC)
In the early days of our community conservation group we benefited from facilitation by an ORC staff member. Grants for fencing and planting were also provided. Those projects were often shared and planned in collaboration with the landowners. Several ORC sponsored excursions allowed community members to experience the reach and scale of the Waikouaiti River Catchment. RECWK and ORC co-presented at several community conservation conferences. In 2015 the Waikouaiti River was named "River of the Month" by Land Air Water Aotearoa (LAWA). Currently ORC assists by formatting and printing the "Riverwatch" newsletter.
Working Waters Trust (WWT)
This charitable trust works to raise the profile of endangered galaxiids and native fish and to make conservation gains for native fish in general and specifically for the most endangered species concentrated in Southland, Otago and Canterbury. Working with the Karitane School children and River Estuary Care the trust has run experience sessions, live trapping native fish for the community to meet local secretive freshwater fish. WWT has contributed to our shadehouse/nursery project.
Otago Fish & Game Council
This public entity protects, maintains and enhances sports fish and game bird populations and their habitats (rivers, lakes and wetlands) in the interest of anglers and hunters. Over the years the council has cooperated with River Estuary Care to protect and enhance our waterways. As the council has habitat protection/enhancement as a top priority funds from the council helped establish the shade house/nursery project.
East Otago Taipaure (EOT) and Waikouaiti Mataitai (WM)
The East Otago Taiapure was established in 1999 to manage the local fishery. It has established appropriate sustainable management measures and structures to protect the designated area.
More recently the Waikouaiti Mataitai has been established. Bringing new understandings to the wider community on issues of habitat health, food security and the interconnectedness of our aquatic habitats, these two entities have focussed activity of the community on healthy freshwater and marine ecosytems. River Estuary Care continues to actively support this positive local fisheries management work.
For a description of the East Otago Taiapure,, history, objectives and guiding principles:
For East Otago Taiapure fishing regulations:
For information on the Waikouaiti Mataitai:
Waikouaiti Coast Community Board
Over the years our community board has provided a platform for our concerns through the public forum. By echoing our concerns to the Dunedin City Council issues such as effluent from the local sewage treatment plant and effluent from our local tip have been addressed. We received several community board grants to support River Estuary Care commissioned reports on the river and the estuary and habitat restoration efforts.