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Land and stream care groups

Definition of a Care Group

"A Care group is a group of people working voluntarily for the protection or restoration of the natural environment, in a place of significance to them."

Land owners are responsible for land management on their property. Often a group of neighbours or people with similar interests form land or stream care groups to develop and carry out specific projects or to look after a specific area.

Care group projects

Ongare Point Waterway Restoration Group

Formed in 2016, this group are cleaning up their local creeks. See this December 2016 NZ Herald video about their work. 

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 (pdf. 1.58MB)



This list is by no means exhaustive, so ask around other care groups for their insight and experience.

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 the Regional 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 Regional Council, and the Department of Conservation.

Health and safety

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council takes the health and safety of care group members seriously, as getting it wrong can have serious consequences for everyone. It is a legal requirement to fill out an accident or incident for if anyone has a close call or worse, an accident while undertaking a care group activity.

See our Volunteer Health and Safety Guidelines for information about keeping yourself safe when using powered tools, hand tools, applying herbicides or undertaking pest animal control.

For more information about Health and Safety check out the OSH website at

For First Aid tips check out the St John website at

Templates and forms

Templates that may be helpful for care groups or are required by the Regional Council for funding or legislative requirements.

 Bird and plant identification

 Wetlands monitoring and assessment

The NZ Landcare Trust's WETMAK - Wetlands Monitoring and Assessment Kit - includes 'how to' notes and recording templates. It can be found at Use it for:

  • Creating a management map;
  • Monitoring mini plan;
  • Photo points;
  • Wetland 'WOF' check;
  • Mapping wetland vegetation;
  • Weed survey; and
  • Vegetation plots.

 Forest monitoring and assessment

The FORMAK - Forestry Monitoring and Assessment Kit - was developed with support from the Minister for the Environment's Sustainable Management Fund.

All modules are available free of charge at and a free login service enables data to be stored, analysed and compared online. Modules include:

  • Site assessment;
  • Photo point;
  • Vegetation plot;
  • Bird count;
  • Pest animal transects; and
  • Guidelines for plant and bird identification, map and compass use, location establishment and vegetation height estimation.