An opinion poll this year found that water pollution was the number one concern for New Zealanders.
The Colmar Brunton poll found that 82 per cent of respondents were extremely or very concerned about the issue, rating higher than both living costs and the health system.
Sustainable Coastlines charity is calling for local businesses, whānau and volunteers to be part of the solution this Matariki with a public tree planting on Saturday July 6 from 10am to 3pm at Lovells Road in Cambridge.
Thanks to the support of Sustainable Coastlines' partners APL Window Solutions lunch will be provided free for everyone who comes along.
Sustainable Coastlines and APL are supporting local charity the Ngāti Hauā Mahi Trust and Waikato Regional Council to plant 10,000 thousand native trees and shrubs to celebrate Matariki with a permanent reconstructed wetland.
Sustainable Coastlines works with partners and community groups to look after the coastlines and waterways that they love. The charity coordinates and supports large-scale coastal clean-up events, educational programs and riparian planting projects.
During the week, several local schools are coming along and community work offenders from the Department of Corrections are chipping in also.
This joint riparian restoration effort aims to help reduce pollution by soaking up runoff, controlling erosion by stabilising river banks, creating habitat for improving native biodiversity, and help remove pollution from the atmosphere, directly addressing climate change.
Sustainable Coastlines is supporting the project as part of the ANZ Love Your Water Tour 2019, which will have tens of thousands of native plants and trees planted throughout 10 regions of New Zealand.
"Cleaning up our waterways is an immense challenge," says Co-Founder of Sustainable Coastlines and former Young New Zealander of the Year, Sam Judd. "This is an issue that effects everyone in the community."
The charity group — which picked up the most prestigious youth award for sustainability on the planet last year — are well placed to bring people together.
"It is a real privilege for us to support Matariki celebrations here in the mighty Waikato," says Sam, "the sheer scale here shows that local people really want to give back to their waterways."
Sam says it is clear that tree planting has gained a lot of support in recent years and the fact that so many diverse groups are getting behind it bodes well for the future.
"We would not be able to pull this off without the support of businesses like APL, ANZ Bank, councils, The Waikato River Authority and diverse partners from schools to community work offenders," says Sam.
"It really proves that many hands can make light work."
Volunteers can register at: sustainablecoastlines.org/event/karapiro-wetland-planting-days/