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Motu's role in efforts to save wild rivers

Media release from Eastern Fish & Game

Fish & Game highlights Motu's role in efforts to save wild rivers
One of the Bay of Plenty’s most iconic wild and scenic rivers, the Motu, is in the spotlight this week – for the role it has played in efforts to preserve some of the country’s finest rivers.

Fish & Game has joined forces with other organisations (see below) in the launch of a campaign to raise awareness of the country’s most outstanding rivers, and the Water Conservation Orders (WCOs) which give them protection. Around 15 rivers and some lakes are protected by WCO’s.

Eastern Region Fish & Game Manager Rob Pitkethley says while there’s wide recognition of New Zealand’s network of National Parks, too few Kiwis are aware that WCOs provide similar high-level protection for some of the country’s most precious, pristine rivers.

He points out the Motu, in fact, started the ball rolling as the first of New Zealand’s rivers to win the protection through a WCO in 1984.

“This important wilderness river has a role which goes far beyond sport fishing, to include all sorts of adventure tourism and recreation from jet boating to white water rafting, and more recently, mountain biking.

“There are some spectacular scenic settings which have been safeguarded – the river can’t be dammed or have water taken out thanks to the conservation order.”

The WCO stipulates that the river should be preserved as far as possible in its natural state from the Motu Falls to the SH35 bridge.

“The WCO on the Motu makes the river a jewel in Bay of Plenty’s crown, which should be recognised and appreciated for the wonderful recreational and tourism opportunities it affords the region,” says Mr Pitkethley.

Since the Motu WCO came into effect Fish & Game has worked with a variety of other organisations – including the Enviromental Defence Society (EDS), Forest & Bird and Whitewater New Zealand (WWNZ) – to get more WCOs in place around the country, protecting biodiversity, recreational, scenic and cultural values for all New Zealanders.

The WCO campaign this week includes the launch of the www.OutstandingRivers.org.nz WCO website, erecting WCO signage and unveiling ceremonies at key locations around the country to identify these waterways of national significance, and raft and kayak flotillas down WCO protected rivers.

Former All Blacks captain Anton Oliver is fronting the campaign in his role as WCO ambassador.

Note: Organisations taking part in the campaign include Forest & Bird, Environmental Defence Society (EDS), Whitewater NZ, Federated Mountain Clubs and other environmental and recreational NGOs.

© Scoop Media

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