It takes a village, so the expression goes. And it has. Thousands of visionary Kiwis – dairy farmers, community groups, landowners, public bodies and corporations – have come together to make a real change to the quality of New Zealand's waterways.
The Vision is Clear was launched three years ago to inspire action and showcase the many amazing Kiwis playing their part in looking after our rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands. Already the movement has shown that, if we can work together as a country, then big change can happen.
To celebrate World Water Day this week, we reflect on how far we've come – and where we need to go next – so all New Zealanders can continue to enjoy our amazing waterways.
Dairy farmers are rolling up their sleeves for our waterways.
Those living and working on the land are hugely passionate about the environment. Many landowners see themselves as guardians of the land for future generations. So it's not surprising that farmers are right at the grass roots of change when it comes to improving water quality.
Up and down the country, dairy farmers have fenced off tens of thousands of kilometres of rivers and streams, created riparian strips, planted millions of trees and restored hundreds of hectares of wetlands – and the work is ongoing.
And it's not only within their farm gates: many dairy farmers have also formed catchment groups with other dairy farmers and their local communities – sharing know-how, resources and hard graft to improve our waterways, together.
Communities are coming together to make a splash.
The movement to improve New Zealand's waterways is gathering strength – and it's making a difference. A growing number of individuals, community groups and organisations are pulling together to improve water quality right across the country.
Those rolling up their sleeves are working towards the same goal: to create real, sustainable change so we can all continue to swim, surf, fish, play and gather kai from our most precious resource: our waterways.
Environmental efforts are gaining ground.
To date, dairy farmers have fenced off a staggering 98.3% of New Zealand's significant on-farm waterways and all farmers are committed to having a farm environment plan by 2025 – a milestone under the primary sector action climate partnership He Waka Eke Noa.
Direct action on the ground by landowners and community groups is backed by expert advice from industry bodies and environmental groups, and supported by Government and regional grants – all working together to make a demonstrable difference to the quality of our water.
There's still work to be done – but our vision remains clear.
There's still a way to go, but there's no doubting the passion and dedication of the many dairy farmers and Kiwi communities working together to improve New Zealand's water quality.
Dairy farmers all across the country are continuing to lead efforts to improve the health of our rivers and streams. This is the sector's commitment through the Dairy Tomorrow strategy.
To fulfil our shared vision for clean, sustainable fresh water for all, it's clear each of us has a role to play. Whether urban or rural, individual or a group, public body or private enterprise – when we all play our part and collaborate, we can succeed in restoring New Zealand's amazing waterways.