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River Restoration - from mountains to sea

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Waikanae River

Welcome to the River Restoration - from mountains to sea. This field trip takes place on 28-30 July 2020 and is supported by the Ministry of Education/Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga and the Department of Conservation/Te Papa Atawhai. Enrol now.


Aotearoa is a land of rivers. To iwi, rivers are taonga ('treasures') and are often central to identity and wellbeing. We have over 400,000kms of rivers and half of these flow through areas modified by people. The way we use land has affected the health of many of our rivers, increasing sediment, bacteria and nutrient levels. Some of our rivers are no longer safe to swim in and threaten the survival of aquatic species. 

We can all play a part in restoring our rivers. On this field trip you will join a group of people helping to restore Waikanae River. Along with government funding, the Department of Conservation, Wellington Council, local Iwi and volunteers are all working together to make Waikanae River healthy again. This trip is a river journey from the mountains to the sea exploring how rivers work, what makes them sick and what we can do to enhance te mana o te wai – the quality and vitality of our rivers.

Meet Shelley the LEARNZ field trip teacher.
Meet Shelley the LEARNZ field trip teacher

Watch the introductory video - on Vimeo.


Your river journey starts when you fly into Wellington and drive the 60km north to Waikanae on the Kāpiti Coast. Waikanae in Māori means "waters of the mullet" and is home to Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai iwi, who are mana whenua and kaitiaki of the River. The small town sits beside the lower reaches of the Waikanae River whose source is high up in the Tararua Ranges. The river is valued by many different people and has shaped the local environment. Flood management is a challenge and the river faces a number of threats which you will explore during the field trip. 

Field trip location - Google Maps

Field Trip Plan - Term 3 2020

Tuesday 28 July

Day 1

Waikanae River from its source to the sea

Venture up into the Tararua Ranges to see the source of the Waikanae River. Follow the river to the sea and find out more about the unique ecology of this river.


Wednesday 29 July

Day 2

Threats to the health of Waikanae River

Measure the water quality of the river and find out what impacts the health of Waikanae River. Discover how this river has changed over time and what's being done to manage floods.



Thursday 30 July

Day 3

Restoring Waikanae River

Join local volunteers and school students as they work to restore their river. 

What's New

Monday 23 March Newsletter sent to all enrolled classes. Teachers can now book a web conference to speak to experts live during the field trip.

Monday 23 March

The River Restoration field trip has been postponed and will now be held 28-30 July.

Monday 2 March

The 2020 River Restoration field trip website is now online.

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Ministry of Education