Whanganui River Conservation – Saving the Whanganui
We only have one Whanganui River, so we best look after it! Here we discuss historical and current river conservation efforts surrounding the Whanganui River.
Every twist, turn, and rapid of the Whanganui River is deeply woven into the fabric of New Zealand's history. We have placed a huge emphasis on river conservation in recent years to preserve this cultural icon to ensure our history isn't swept away. Discover the threats facing the Whanganui River, what steps we are taking, and why our river is worth saving.
Long before the Whanganui River was known as the premier New Zealand canoeing destination, it was crucial to the first Polynesian migrants around 1350. The Whanganui Iwi have lived by, travelled on, and drawn food from the river ever since.
Prior to European colonisation, we could explain Kiwi culture through the relationship between people and the land. Tupuna (ancestors) live on through the natural world, and the community is responsible for protecting the landscape they inherited and their ancestors who live on through it. People and water are especially intertwined, which is where the saying "I am the river, the river is me" originates.
It's not hard to see why the Whanganui River is so deeply appreciated, and the desire to conserve the river is always an issue bubbling just below the surface.
Aotearoa's clean, green image has been muddied over the years by water quality issues. The lower reaches of the Whanganui River are now badly contaminated with excess nutrients, chemicals, and disease-causing pathogens due to runoffs from surrounding farmland. These pollutants degrade the river's health, mauri (life force), and wairua (soul).
Many have begun pointing the finger at hydropower as a significant concern for river conservation. While it's estimated that only 7% of the Whanganui River diverts for hydropower, the extraction of this water can lead to changes in the river's flow, which erodes banks and eventually impacts the wildlife in and around the water.
Fully embracing the traditional saying, "I am the river, the river is me", the Whanganui River is now considered a person. A huge win for river conservation has led to the Whanganui River receiving all the rights of a legal person under the ‘Te Awa Tupua’ Act. Harming the river is the same as harming a person. The river can sue if there is any form of abuse or threat to its waters, such as pollution. The Whanganui River now has a chance to stick up for itself.
Working side by side with DOC and local Iwi, power companies extracting hydropower from the Whanganui River are taking a much more measured approach to minimise environmental and cultural impacts on the river.
The minimum and maximum flow required to maintain a healthy river calculate into the environmental flow level. The environmental flow helps rein in hydropower projects to ensure the conservation of the Whanganui River for years to come.
The Whanganui River has played a role in Kiwi culture for hundreds of years, and to ensure it continues to do so for years to come, we need to get serious about river conservation.
See why we are so passionate about preserving this river by taking a Whanganui canoe trip with Canoe Safaris today.
A couple of good mates decided we'd do this trip some time ago and Canoe Safari's helped make it happen. Alex, Bailey, Lesley and Canon our guides / hosts were absolutely amazing. Scenery was stunning - seems like little has changed on the landscape in hundreds of years... still...
This was the best family trip ever! Three course meals, a wealth of knowledge from our awesome guides, and no devices, were just three reasons we would highly recommend this adventure. Phil and Simon were amazing guides and worked from the moment we were collected for our trip to the moment we...
peaceful, primal, professional, Challenging, adrenalin - I experienced all of these on a three day trip down the Whanganui river with a group of 18 people and two amazing guides - Simon and Aiden. These guys worked tirelessly to ensure we were kept safe and well fed and were happy to share their...
This was out and out one of the best experiences I've ever had. The trip exceeded my expectations in every department. The hospitality was second to none and the care taken for all of us was outstanding. Safety was never forgotten and was balanced with a load of fun and great humour...
We had a magic 4 days on the Whanganui thanks to Kirsty Phil Keira and Jackson. The equipment, food, guiding and training were faultless. Phil's instruction was enough to make us confident on the river without overloading two novices and Keira's and Jackson's enthusiasm and...
Larry B, New Zealand
I would like to thank Mike, Stefan and Sophie for a great rafting experience on the Mohaka River. They were all such fun, very experienced and wonderful chefs too. Certainly a fantastic holiday and one to be recommended. So a big thank you for making it happen.
Had the most enjoyable trip in my life. Took the 4 day canoe safari down the Wanganui river. We thoroughly enjoyed it, couldn't have asked for better guides, Erin and Jordan. Their knowledge and expertise was invaluable. The scenery was out of this world, at times we felt as though no one...
We did a family 4 day guided canoe trip, it was absolutely amazing. Very professional, our guides Morgan and Aiden were very knowledgeable and friendly. The food was way above expectation and the memories we have made will be with us forever. Highly recommend.
We did the 5 day, fully guided and catered river journey, with our four children and three other families. This was truly one of the best holidays we have ever had. Phil and Ian, our guides, organised every detail. It was enormous fun canoeing down the river, jumping off rocks and canyoning. We...
SIMPLY SENSATIONAL. Just completed the 3 day trip. Our guides Wilson and Gregor were fantastic. Cool, clear, calm (even when I tipped the wife out of our canoe). Always felt safe, always felt informed. The food was sensational. From the time we were greeted to the time we departed, I was very...
Warren J, Christchurch, NZ