Estuary Care groups have formed to maintain estuary values such as open water, clean and clear water, abundant fish and shellfish, estuary margins free of plant and animal pests and rubbish, and to protect native estuarine and bird habitats in their estuaries.

There are 11 groups around Tauranga Harbour and two around Ōhiwa Harbour that are supported by Council.

See map below for Tauranga Harbour group locations and contact our Tauranga Coastal Land Management Officer by phone on 0800 884 880 for details about your local group.

Tauranga estuary care groups

Get involved

Estuary Care groups are always looking for new members and volunteers.

For many people, caring for their estuary starts with getting to know the wildlife that lives there. The Birds of Ōmokoroa Estuary booklet (see below PDF) will help you to identify local bird life. 

There's lots of other ways you can help too, here's a few:

  • Plant native trees and shrubs in your garden to help attract and feed native birds (see below resource Welcome wildlife into your garden).
  • Make sure your septic tank is in good working order.
  • Don't pour pollutants or wash paint brushes into storm water drains.
  • Wash your car on grass so pollutants don't go into storm water drains.
  • Take rubbish, including green waste, to the landfill not the estuary and recycle wherever possible.
  • Collect sea lettuce from the foreshore and use it in your garden. Wash it and use it sparingly to avoid salt build-up in your soil. Find out more in the Sea Lettuce and the Garden booklet (see below resources).
  • Set up an Estuary Care Group in your area by checking out the Care Group Handbook (see below resources).

How we support estuary care

Estuary care groups can apply for funding for projects such as pest control and planting through the Environmental Enhancement Fund and Biodiversity Management Programmes.

Our environmental monitoring in Tauranga Harbour and Ōhiwa Harbour provides useful information to estuary care groups and the wider community about water quality, wildlife, shellfish safety and other factors related to estuary health.

Mangrove expansion is a key concern for many estuary care groups who value access to sandy areas and open water to enjoy walking, boating and shellfish gathering in their harbours. Mangroves are a protected native plant which requires a a sensitive approach management.

We work with landowners and estuary care groups to implement catchment action plans for the Tauranga and Ōhiwa Harbour. This catchment protection work aims to reduce the harbour sedimentation that promotes mangrove growth, it also improves management of soil, water and wildlife in the catchments.  

We also assist estuary care groups to hold the line on mangrove expansion through resource consent processes and development of new mangrove management methods including a specialised hovercraft.