The health of our rivers and streams is crucial to the future well-being of our environment, society and economy.
The New Zealand River Awards were established to draw attention to the state of our rivers, but more importantly, to recognise where communities, councils, farmers and industry were achieving significant improvement in water quality in one or more of their local rivers.
The long-term objectives of the Awards are to:
- Improve the health of New Zealand’s rivers and streams.
- Encourage greater community participation in measuring and reporting water quality.
- Highlight the actions being taken to restore river health.
The Awards celebrate improvement in water quality. All rivers, whether they are in poor health or in pristine condition can potentially win an award for being the most improved river in a region or nationally. The most improved rivers are determined by a judging panel of scientists using statistical analysis of monitoring data from LAWA: E.coli, nitrogen, phosphorus and the macroinvertebrate community index (MCI). In 2019, E.coli (water quality) and the MCI (biological health) were combined as the basis for determining improvement.
The Awards were established by the Morgan Foundation and the NZ Rivers Trust in 2013, and have received valuable support from regional and local councils, and many other stakeholders in the freshwater space.
Cawthron has generous support from Lane Neave, the Department of Conservation, Ministry for the Environment, and the Gawith-Deans Family Trust to run the Awards.