The Puhinui Regeneration Project

We’re helping to create the conditions for the restoration of the mauri of the land, waters and communities of the Puhinui catchment. We’re supporting a Sustainable Business Network’s (SBN) programme creating and financing jobs for local rangatahi. This will contribute to a restoration vision led by mana whenua and the local community.


South Auckland suffers from the worst water quality, most of the waterways are piped and there are growing waste and stormwater problems. It has the lowest tree cover in Auckland and a lack of resources to solve this. It has high social deprivation, yet lacks historic investment in most services. There’s a lack of employment opportunities beyond low skilled, low paid jobs. Communities have been disengaged and disconnected.


All this has inevitably impacted people’s pride in the place and their connections with its landscape.

But the people of South Auckland have big aspirations, and we’re getting behind them. This programme is about backing the community’s ambition for rejuvenating the Puhinui catchment. With our help SBN aims to secure an investment of at least $16 million for this work over the next five years with at least 30 investment partners.


Together we will:

  • Employ, equip and train at least 100 locals to be valuable agent of environmental and cultural regeneration.
  • Establish 10Ha of new native canopy cover in the catchment by planting 250,000 locally sourced and grown native plants
  • Connect local delivery teams with land owners, future employers and contract managers to facilitate procurement of local skills and knowledge in long term restoration efforts. 
Concept illustration of what the Puhinui Stream could look like with restoration. Credit: Resilio Studio

We need to prioritise the regeneration of nature and communities. We have to shift beyond the idea of sponsorships and donations. We need to start making strategically aligned investments in action on climate, biodiversity and community.We are committed to finding environmental partnerships that we feel confident overtime will create impactful change.


This project is exactly that. We are particularly hopeful that this will in fact become a blueprint for similar restoration and regeneration projects across Aotearoa in the future. The Milford Foundation has committed $1.2m of funding over the next five years.