on Sep 21, 21

Restoring NZ's waterways one metre at a time

We all have a responsibility to take care of New Zealand’s waterways and ensure they continue to thrive well into the future, and the Sustainable Business Network’s Million Metres project makes it easy to connect everyday Kiwis with localised projects that need a hand.

Million Metres was created in 2014 and currently supports 12 locally-led initiatives across the country, working to restore NZ’s waterways by planting native plants and trees.

Project Manager Alaina Pomeroy says it was founded out of the desire to connect people who wanted to help with groups doing the work in their local communities.

“It provides that connection from people, donors, and businesses wanting to support restoration and then the amazing community groups and farmers that are rolling up their sleeves around the country and getting stuck into restoring their waterways,” she says.

“We use a crowdfunding model, so the idea that everyone can donate a little bit and that all kind of builds up to a really big impact, so we’re connecting donors with doers on the ground.”

The programme has been supported by The Good Registry since 2018, and has been able to distribute more than $7000 from The Good Registry’s givers to projects over that period.

“Over the years, The Good Registry’s support has gone to 15 different sites across the country,” says Million Metres Associate Project & Partnership Manager Rosa Thompson. 

Funds raised through the Million Metres programme are distributed to community projects in need of support for any part of the restoration process.

“We’re raising funds for everything that goes into planting a native tree or a plant and helping it thrive and survive,” says Alaina. “The last thing you want is to plant a bunch of seedlings and then not maintain them and have them get covered in weeds.

That includes funds for site preparation, the plants and trees themselves, the planting of the trees, the maintenance of those trees, and for local groups’ coordination costs.

Each project is transparent in what the funds go towards, as each area is at a different stage in the restoration process and therefore requires different resources.

“We have an average cost per tree, and that’s based on all of the projects that have fundraised with us and all of the budgets that they provide us in terms of how much it’s going to cost them to look after these trees, get them in the ground, and then take them onwards,” says Rosa.

“Across all of our projects, we take an average, and that’s currently $7 a tree.”

Protecting our waterways should be a priority for everyone in New Zealand, Alaina says. “A lot of New Zealanders have told me ‘the stream that I swam in when I grew up, that was my favourite place, and it's closed to swimming right now.’

“These places are really a part of our lives, and a part of what makes our quality of life in New Zealand so great. We need to take care of them for the next generation too.”

With 62% of New Zealand's lowland rivers so polluted we can't safely swim in them, the work that Million Metres does to fund restoration projects is vital, and the support from givers through The Good Registry is contributing towards this important work.

 - By Ellen Sinclair 

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