In 2017 the Manawatū River Leaders’ Forum successfully bid to central government’s Freshwater Improvement Fund for $2.9 million.

This complements $4.3 million in contributions made by Horizons Regional Council, Horowhenua and Manawatū District Councils, Palmerston North City Council, and landowners. This will contribute to works totalling $7.24 million over five years.


The Freshwater Improvement Fund project is very much in its early stages with the following to be achieved by 2023:

  • 250km of stream fencing will be completed to exclude stock and improve aquatic health in the Manawatū Catchment
  • 200,000 native plants will be planted along prioritised banks in the Manawatū Catchment to create riparian buffers
  • At least 20 barriers to fish passage will be remedied throughout the Manawatū Catchment
  • At least 45 community projects will be funded.
  • The Tokomaru Wastewater treatment plant will be upgraded to discharge to land, instead of being discharged to water
  • At least four iwi management plans will be implemented to increase iwi engagement in management and monitoring of the Manawatū River
  • Increase engagement with the Manawatū River from Palmerston North residents through urban stream restoration

Within the first three months of the project commencing, landowners have had support to complete 8.5km of stream fencing with 13,845 riparian plants planted. Planning with landowners for fish pass fixes has started, and Palmerston North City Council have made progress on their Urban Stream Project and are preparing areas for planting.

Funding is available for community projects.

Contact Horizons Regional Council on freephone 0508 800 800 to find out more.