What's On at Zealandia


Media release: Local environmental restoration project gets global support: Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne teams up with GHD

Media release: Local environmental restoration project gets global support: Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne teams up with GHD

Project to restore ecologically significant Wellington waterway gets global backing

Wellington 28 November 2022:  A project to protect and restore one of Wellington’s most precious waterways, the Kaiwharawhara catchment, is receiving a boost in support from an internationally renowned professional services firm.

Global professional services company, GHD, has become a strategic partner of Wellington ecosanctuary, Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne, on the Kia Mouriora te Kaiwharawhara Sanctuary to Sea project.

The project is a community-focused initiative with a 100-year vision of the ecological restoration of the Kaiwharawhara Stream catchment, restoring the health of the waterways and forest in the area. The catchment is home to various species of native wildlife such as tuna/eel, native fish like kōkopu, and the now iconic Wellington kākā. 

GHD joins other strategic partners on the Sanctuary to Sea project, which is led by Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne and mana whenua Taranaki Whānui Te Ūpoko o Te Ika. Strategic partners include CentrePort, Department of Conservation, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Wellington City Council, Wellington Water and Morphum Environmental Ltd.

Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne Chief Executive Dr Danielle Shanahan says GHD’s engineering, environmental science and technical skills will greatly benefit the project.

“The Kaiwharawhara catchment is an important part of Wellington. It is a place that many of us connect to personally in some way, and Sanctuary to Sea Kia Mouriora te Kaiwharawhara is about harnessing the local and global energy to care for this place,” says Shanahan. “This project builds upon partnerships to restore the mouri (life force) of the Kaiwharawhara catchment.”

“Sanctuary to Sea is world leading in its scope and ambition. This is reflected in our new partnership with global organisation GHD, who is committed to the catchment’s protection and restoration. Having a partner like GHD will help to identify opportunities for us to take the project to the next level,” continues Shanahan. “GHD’s engineering capabilities and advice will be invaluable for providing technical support on the issues that this and many urban catchments face including buried landfills, fish migration barriers and increased sedimentation due to slips.”

The Kaiwharawhara catchment is unique in Te Whanganui-a-Tara. It extends from Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne to the Kaiwharawhara estuary. It is the largest stream system and the only catchment in Wellington City with an open estuary on Te Whanganui-a-Tara, the Wellington harbour. The 100-year vision for Kia Mouriora te Kaiwharawhara is that the water quality and biodiversity values of the catchment are restored, and the community are connected to the stream as it travels from the sanctuary to the sea.

Siobhan Hartwell, GHD’s Regional General Manager NZ Pacific, says they’re looking forward to working with Zealandia on the project.

“We’re committed to solving the world’s biggest challenges in the areas of water, energy and urbanisation,” says  Hartwell. “Getting involved in community-led projects like Sanctuary to Sea is a great way for us to share our expertise with meaningful projects, but also a great way for our team to get involved in supporting causes they’re passionate about.”

Alongside technical support, GHD employees will also be involved in ‘corporate volunteering’; where teams volunteer in on-the-ground activity such as weed removal that forms a key part of ecosystem improvement for the catchment. 

The Sanctuary to Sea project stakeholders are committed to support resilient ecosystems in the face of constant pressures from human development and climate change.



For more information please contact:

Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne: Senior Communications Advisor, Gini Letham – media@visitzealandia.co.nz, 020 4010 2430

GHD – Victoria Butterworth – Victoria.butterworth@ghd.com


Notes to Editors:

About Zealandia:

Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne is the world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary, with a 500-year vision to connect people with nature and help native wildlife flourish in Wellington and beyond. The 225-hectare ecosanctuary is a ground-breaking conservation project that protects over 40 rare native wildlife species. As a not for profit, you are directly contributing to our vital conservation work.



About GHD:

GHD is a leading professional services company operating in the global markets of water, energy and resources, environment, property and buildings, and transportation. Committed to a vision to make water, energy and urbanisation sustainable for generations to come, GHD delivers engineering, architecture, environmental and construction solutions to public and private sector clients. Established in 1928 and privately owned by its people, GHD’s network of 10,000+ specialists are connected across 200 offices located in five continents and the Pacific region.


Photo credit: Hayley May 

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