Ngāti Ngararanui in Rotorua is calling on local government to develop a long-term plan to restore the water quality of their local awa, Waitetī. The hapū says the move will ensure the awa will be preserved for future generations.
Ngāti Ngāraranui trustee Guy Ngatai says, "So it's a big project. Our kids started turning up early this morning at 7am ready to start planting."
Students from four schools in Rotorua planted 600 native plants along the riverbank behind Waitetī Marae.
"This is all about protection rights, protecting our marae, protecting our land and our water."
The initiative also aims to prevent erosion by stabilizing the soil.
The project was inspired by Jaap van Dorsser, a local Rotorua resident, who has planted more than a hundred thousand native trees since the early 90s.
"Some of those are still interested in planting trees now you know, amazing," says Jaap van Dorsser.
"I'm really privileged and it is therefore, I feel, my privilege to hand this knowledge on."
Local government agencies in Rotorua will assist Ngāti Ngararanui with ongoing projects to minimise the amount of nutrients entering the river from rural and urban land use.