Kaipara Moana Remediation Project

The Kaipara Remediation Project (KMR) was the evolution of the Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group (IKHMG). Both were spearheaded by Te-Uri-o-Hau Iwi who are Mana Whenua for the Kaipara Whenua and Moana.

The KMR Project was 25 years in the making and came as a result of a Treaty Settlement and the need to restore health and Mauri of the Kaipara Moana and all the integrated eco-systems.

The IKHMG brought together landowners, fisherman, aquaculture, Mana Whenua (hapu/Iwi), Farmers, consultants, government, local and regional governance, and everyone else in the community who cared for and longed for the restoration of the Kaipara Moana. The goal was to understand past and current impacts on the decline of health in the Kaipara Moana.

Science and matauranga along with historical knowledge from the community were valuable tools used to develop impact studies and solutions to restore the lifeforce (Mauri) of the Kaipara Moana.

    Our Involvement

    Rural Design has been involved in hui for the past 15 years. These huis have pulled the ideas and knowledge of everyone in the community to resolve negative impacts on the Kaipara Harbour and solutions to the problem. Rural Design is not only a business in the Northern Kaipara community but has employed mana whenua and had a personal interest in restoring the Mauri of the Kaipara Harbour for 40 years. The business was initially established in 1984 and the main ethos was to weave ecological resilience into the rural and town landscapes using an integrated catchment management approach. The meant promoting the permanent protection of water and its eco-systems from ‘the maunga to the moana’ while promoting productive land use based on capable land to ensure rural farming and communities could thrive.

    (Pictured right: Rural Design team members planting Stage 2.)


    Rural Design has employed and educated hundreds of Kaipara Soldiers who have now set up their own planting and landscaping teams, of which Rural Design is proud of this achievement and the influence it is having on the KMR project. Respect, leadership, communication, excellence and integrity are our core values at Rural Design that are incorporated into all elements of what we do and who we are.

    • To show respect for our environment, people, communities.
    • Showing leadership – to be involved in this KMR project.
    • Communication – having conversations with relevant people and communities to achieve success at the end of each job.
    • Excellence – to strive for excellence in everything we do.
    • Integrity – we are honest and proud of what we do.

    Rural Design has practical experience in weed management, plant production, revegetation planting and professional ecological advice. This has provided the KMR Project in the lead up to going ‘live’ with advice on methodologies, plant species selection, plant procurement and pricing. We are proud to have an evolving input and relationship with KMR. Ultimately Tangaroa (the sea, harbour and ocean) nourishes Te Tangata in one way or another. To be able to play a small part in this process is enough for us.

    (Pictured left: One of the Rural Design Ecologists, Kyle, with the drone on site.)

    This Specific Project

    One of our current KMR planting projects is at a farm in Whakapirau. This specific project commenced in June 2022 (Stage 1) with the south side of the farm by the river being planted by the revegetation team at Rural Design. Now, skip forward to June 2023, and our team have just completed stage two which consisted of planting on the northern side of the property up on the hill. This project is ongoing and it is estimated that approximately 60 hectares of the whenua will be restored to Ngahere.

    (Pictured right: Drone image of a part of Stage 1, planted in winter 2022.)


    The KMR Project is one of the most intensive afforestation efforts globally and one of New Zealand’s largest catchment restoration programmes. In 2022 alone, over $4.67 million was invested into projects to reduce sediment flowing into our Kaipara Harbour. The KMR have partnered with the Northland Regional Council to provide partial funding for projects such as this.

    The Kaipara Moana is the largest estuarine water body in the country and spans Auckland and Northland regions. It is of global ecological and biological significance and holds profound importance to Māori and other recreational users – including community and visitors. 

    (Pictured left: Drone image of Stage two.)


    Currently, over 475 landowners are participating in the sediment reduction project and are working with KMR to scope other projects. This equals almost one in three eligible landowners taking part. This number continues to increase.

    These planting projects are critical in reducing this sediment to contribute to restoring health and Mauri into our eco-system.

    (Pictured right: Drone image comparison of Stage 1 – left and Stage 2 – right.)


    ‘Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini’
    ~ Our strength is not as an individual, but as a collective.

    We are proud to be a part of this.