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Northland Īnanga Spawning Habitat Restoration Project (NĪSHRP)


Īnanga - taken by Kim Jones
Īnanga - taken by Kim Jones


The Northland Īnanga Spawning Habitat Restoration Project (NĪSHRP) is a 3-year project running from 2022-2025 that aims to locate, protect, and enhance habitats for īnanga (Galaxias maculatus) spawning in Northland's waterways. Īnanga is a culturally significant native freshwater fish whose populations are declining.


The project has 4 key objectives:


  1. Increase knowledge of īnanga spawning habitats and water quality in 25 Northland waterways to enable protection and restoration of spawning sites.

  2. Build capability among 265+ people in identifying, protecting, and restoring īnanga habitat.

  3. Create a collaborative workflow model engaging agencies, iwi, community groups and landowners to protect critical spawning habitats.

  4. Undertake habitat restoration on prioritised Tier 1 waterways based on survey findings.


Īnanga eggs found
Īnanga eggs found

The project is led by the Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust’s ‘Whitebait Connection’ team and involves multiple partners including Northland Regional Council, Department of Conservation, Ngāti manu, Whirinaki Trust, Patuharakeke Te Iwi Trust Board, Fonterra, and local landowners.  It is largely funded by the Ministry for the Environment’s Freshwater Improvement Fund but is also funded by DOC, Fonterra, and Foundation North.


As of January 2024, good progress has been made toward the project's objectives. Nearly half of the planned surveys have been completed to map and assess spawning habitats, data collection apps and a hub has been created for field workers, capability building activities have reached 294 people so far, and significant restoration actions like riparian plantings and fencing have been implemented. The collaborative approach with partners and stakeholders is also well underway.


The project still faces challenges in securing formal agreements from all landowners to allow restoration work and in addressing passage barriers for īnanga migration. However, the project remains on track to achieve its ambitious goals by mid-2025 to boost īnanga populations through habitat protection in Northland.


Please contact Project Manager, Nicholas Naysmith for more information nicholas@mountainstosea.org.nz



Riparian planting
Riparian planting



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