Kiwis have shared snapshots and special memories of Rotorua's lakes over summer for the Love Our Lakes photo competition - and now the public have the chance to pick a winner.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council catchment manager Helen Creagh says the photo competition has run a few times over the past few years, and they received more than 100 entries this year.
The competition opened at the beginning of the summer and closed March 1.
"It's so encouraging to have so many entries this year.
"It not only gives us a snapshot of how people love to enjoy our Te Arawa lakes, but also reaffirms why we are doing the work we are doing."
Helen says it was a tough job going through all the entrants and that there were probably more than 50 worthy pictures which could have been included.
"To all those who entered the competition a big thank you for sharing your memories, family and friends enjoying our lakes.
"Our programme has selected 20 finalists. We initially thought we would just pick 10 but the competition was too hard, which have included a cross section of action and scenery shots from both amateur and professional photographers.
"It's up to the public to pick their winner."
Helen says the aim of the competition is to help raise awareness of the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme.
"Everybody knows about the beautiful lakes which reside in our region, but not everybody knows about the work we are doing to protect and enhance them, to keep them safe for future generations."
She says New Zealanders love nothing more to reside by their wai – "It's quintessentially Kiwi".
"From fishing for different kaimoana, kayaking, swimming, boating to relaxing on the lakefront there is something for everybody to enjoy.
"This is why we are doing this mahi – so our grandchildren and their grandchildren can enjoy our roto and make memories like we all have this summer."
She says their team works behind the scenes on a number of interventions to protect and restore the Te Arawa lakes.
These include working with landowners to implement regulation and incentives which reduce nutrient leaching to water from land use, implementing sewerage reticulation and sewerage plant upgrades around different lakeside communities, and working with landowners to ensure fencing and planting of riparian areas (the areas between land and water) and restoration of wetlands.
"All these actions mean we will have healthy waterways for the future."
The programme is a collaboration between Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Rotorua Lakes Council and Te Arawa Lakes Trust.
- To view the finalists and vote for a winner (and go into the draw to win a paddleboard) of the Love Our Lakes photo competition, head to Facebook page www.facebook.com/loveourrotorualakes or to see them in person head to the green space outside Te Aka Mauri. For more information on what the programme does go to www.rotorualakes.co.nz