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Help Save NZ Endangered Species - Freshwater Fish

In 2017, 76 percent of our native freshwater fish were either threatened with or at risk of extinction. This is a devastating statistic and one that we can't afford to ignore.

To address this situation, we are starting a project to help save some of our most endangered species here in NZ - freshwater fish, and restore the health of our waterways.

Help save NZ Endangered Freshwater Fish Species and adopt a drain.
Help Save NZ Endangered Species - Freshwater Fish

Drains are Streams

This project is a grassroots effort to address this crisis. The goal of the campaign is to get people involved in the protection of our waterways by encouraging them to adopt a drain near their school, home or business.


Participants will be given resources about the endangered fish that live in our streams, and support to help them clean up the drain and make it a healthy habitat.


Based on a similar, successful project that is being run by Wai Wanaka, we are going to begin this programme in the North Island.

Your donation will help us increase awareness and action for the endangered species that depend on clean, healthy waterways to survive. The "Adopt a Drain" campaign is a key step in the fight to save our native, freshwater fish.



A boy who has adopted a drain to help save NZ endangered species
Adopt a Drain - help save NZ endangered species

Photo credit: Wai Wanaka


Among these species, many belong to the galaxiidae family, including mudfish and four whitebait species. The galaxiids, such as mudfish, shortjaw kōkopu, giant kōkopu, kōaro, īnanga, lamprey, longfin eel, and Stokell's smelt, are integral parts of our ecosystem, and their survival is crucial for maintaining the delicate balance of our waterways.


Photos: DOC and Jason Burton


With your support, we can make a real difference in the lives of these amazing creatures.

Your donation will help us to:

  • Develop an education programme, which will cover the importance of wai water from a mātauranga Māori perspective, help people to understand, explore and care for local drains and waterways.

  • Produce a video for VR headsets allowing tamariki (children) to visually engage with the connections between streams and awa (rivers) and learn how they can contribute to their protection.

  • Engage people to adopt a drain and deliver a pilot project in a Waikato-based kura (school). This will enable us to test and refine our education programme through interactive sessions, field trips, and feedback from kaiako (teachers) and tamariki (children).

Together, we can take action to protect our precious waterways and taonga species here in Aotearoa.


Longer-term, we hope to scale the project to involve more schools, businesses, and community groups, and to expand to include other endangered species across the motu. We hope you'll consider donating to support the "Adopt a Drain" campaign. Your gift will help us to make a real difference in the lives of our native freshwater fish and the waterways that they call home.




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