Independent scientific research for the benefit of New Zealand.

Land Air Water Aotearoa (LAWA) - one of New Zealand’s largest environmental online data platforms

Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA - brings together environmental monitoring data from all of New Zealand’s regional councils, unitary authorities and NIWA, as well as presenting information provided by the Ministry for the Environment.

The website currently displays information on:

  • water quality at New Zealand rivers, lakes and beaches
  • water quantity data including water use, live river flows, rainfall and groundwater levels
  • air quality

In time, groundwater, coastal ecosystem, land and biodiversity data will also be made available on the website.

Cawthron’s role in LAWA is diverse, but it is primarily to ensure that the river, lake and macroinvertebrate data presented to the public is accurate and unbiased. Cawthron has worked alongside regional councils to verify the processes and methods used for data collection, laboratory analysis of samples collected and the statistical analysis and interpretation of the results presented.

The results of this work are summarized on the website by the 'Cawthron Tick'. The colour of the tick assigned to each sampling site/parameter is based on:

  • levels of training for council staff involved with samplingthe use of standard sampling protocols
  • the use of appropriate sampling frequency and sample analysis methods
  • adequate data entry and storage processes usedbefore the data are sent to LAWA’s data processing team.

For more  details on how the “Cawthron tick” works, refer to our factsheet on LAWA.

Funder: Regional Councils and Unitary Authorities, Ministry for the Environment, Tindall Foundation.

Partners and collaborators: Initially a collaboration between New Zealand’s 16 regional councils and unitary authorities, LAWA is now a partnership between the councils, Cawthron Institute, Ministry for the Environment and Massey University and has been supported by the Tindall Foundation.

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For more information
Go to LAWA website or contact Kati Doehring or Roger Young.
Go to 'Can I swim here?' page for information on water quality at popular swimming sites in lakes, rivers and coastal beaches.

LAWA aims at bringing together environmental monitoring data collected around the country and making it available to the public through a dedicated interactive website