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Waikato Catchment Ecological Enhancement Fund

Donations to the Waikato Catchment Ecological Enhancement Trust Fund help expand and accelerate the amount of conservation work it can make happen.

The Waikato Catchment Ecological Enhancement Trust (WCEET) supports conservation work throughout the catchment of the Waikato River. It was formed in 2004 as a collaboration between Mighty River Power and conservation groups to manage an enhancement fund to address the impact of the company’s Waikato River dams.

Its decision-making board therefore includes trustees from Mercury NZ (as Mighty River Power is now known), Fish and Game NZ, the Department of Conservation, Forest and Bird, and the Advisory Committee on the Regional Environment - ACRE, plus an observer from the Waikato Regional Council.

“Without any promotion, our funding rounds are always over-subscribed,” says WCEET Chair Gwyn Verkerk.

“So we set up the WCEET Fund with Momentum Waikato, as both a new investment income stream in its own right, and to provide an easy way for the public to donate towards the expansion and long-term sustainability of this crucial local conservation funding.”

The goals of the WCEET fund are to protect and enhance wetlands, indigenous biodiversity and the sports fishery and gamebird habitat.

Its financial support has had a hugely positive impact on the Waikato and Lake Taupo catchments. WCEET has funded 300+ conservation projects, which have collectively enhanced 2600+ hectares of wetland and 2600+ hectares of riparian habitat, with 2.43 million natives planted and predator control applied to 7200+ hectares.


WCEET grants rarely cover the entire undertaking, usually focussing on the supply of plants and pest control kit. Gwyn says the trustees are practical people who always want to leverage more support, so prioritise assistance that will kick-start volunteer efforts and open up help from elsewhere.

For instance, they have had great success in controlling wilding pines by funding equipment for the Taupo Mountain Bike Club to do the work. The Howick Tramping Club has been funded to buy predator poison to deploy on their regular trips to the Pureora forest, as part of Kokako recovery efforts.

WCCET partnered with Fish and Game by funding them to do numerous projects restoring wetland remnants on private land in both the upper and lower reaches of the Waikato River, which have readily found local partners once they’ve got underway.

Even urban projects in Hamilton and other centres get assistance – Maeroa Intermediate kids are running a nursery and restoring their section of the Waitawhiriwhiri gully.

“What we’re seeing is a huge opportunity to accelerate the delivery and extent of ecological work across the Waikato,” says Gwyn.

We’ll send you a donation receipt so you can claim your tax credit.

If you encounter any challenges when donating, please contact us.