We provide funding, technical advice and support to a number of Care Groups: these are organised groups of people in our community that work voluntarily to protect and enhance a local area in our region.

A care group may consist of a  group of neighbours, a school group, or people who work together on projects and spaces important to them. The focus can be coastal, estuary, stream/lake and/or pest control.

We've also assisted Envirohub Bay of Plenty to establish a network of community environmental care groups around the region. See the Envirohub Network Directory to find a group near you.

What types of things do care groups do?

  • Fence stream banks.
  • Restore dunes, wetlands.
  • Plant native plants.
  • Controls pest animals and plants.
  • Teach people about their project and environment.

All around the Bay of Plenty there are many environmental projects led by locals - people who are planning and acting with inspirational vision and commitment for the future. We’re here to help Care Groups, whether they are just starting out or if they are well established.

The Helping hand guide introduces all the ways we may be able to help your Care Group and also shares experiences and tips from others.

Your Care Group's work could involve coastal dune restoration, wetland and estuary management, stream/lake margin management, catchment management, and/or control of pest plants and animals. Often one issue, such as mangroves in an estuary or acacia on the coast, focuses initial community attention on the health of the natural environment.

Your group's work could be on public or private land.

If your group has sound enviromental objectives and commitment, we'll register it as a Care Group. This gives you access to our resources and support, which may include helping your group to get started, project planning and management, offering technical advice, providing materials, helping with fliers and communications, and lending equipment for your work.

In accepting support, your Care Group agrees to plan and complete the work. You need to be sure your community has a core group to see the project through.

Check out our Care Group Handbook for useful hints and tips or contact a land management officer by calling 0800 884 880 for practical assistance and funding advice.

Waitao Care Group

The Waitao community won the Morgan Foundation River Story Award 2016.

This video tells their story:

The report below follows the effect of the Waitao-Kaiate Environment Group and Te Awa O Waitao Restoration project on environmental awareness and knowledge, stream management practices and social capital of Waitao Catchment residents.This report was prepared for the Bay of Plenty Regional Council by AgResearch in August 2011.

  • Waitao Social Survey - What has changed stream management practices in the Waitao Sub-Catchment August 2011.

District and city councils:

While district and city councils do not directly provide support or funding for care groups, they are often involved as the owner of the land or reserve, or as an interested party or neighbour of adjacent land where the care group's work will be done.

Care groups can apply to Council to work on city or district council owned land, when the city or district council has given permission for the work to be done.

District Councils often work collaboratively with care groups, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, and the Department of Conservation.

Health and safety for Care Groups

We take the health and safety of Care Group members seriously. Getting it wrong can have serious consequences for everyone. 

Incident and accident reporting

It is a legal requirement for volunteers to report any accidents, incidents or near misses while undertaking a Care Group activity.