Auckland Council launch  ‘Growing our Future’ (a regional school tree planting programme) held on Arbour Day / World Environment Day 5th June 2012.  Two thousand native trees/plants planted for the purposes of ecological restoration at Sister Renee Shadbolt Park New Lynn.  In cooperation with the help of volunteers from Avondale Intermediate School and Dera Sacha Sauda  – coordinated by Friends of the Whau (FOW).
Pictured: FOW Convenor (Gilbert Brakey) with the Mayor of Auckland (Len Brown) discussing long term plans for the Avondale Stream restoration project.

The Friends of the Whau (FOW)

Friends of the WhauThe Friends of the Whau Inc. is a charitable entity based in New Lynn, Auckland and was established in the year 2000. The FOW delivers a wide range of community-based environmental projects through the Whau River Catchment Trust, and includes programmes and projects in the areas of ecological restoration and conservation for members of FOW and a large number of its volunteers. Volunteers can be individuals, part of an organisational group such as scouting or a business corporate.

The WRCT and FOW are working together for healthier streams and river through community participation and kaitiakitanga.


Friends of the Whau Inc. (pronounced “foe”) are a community-based ecological restoration organisation based in New Lynn, West Auckland at the heart of the Whau River catchment.

Once divided by the Auckland Regional Council, Waitakere City and Auckland City Council boundaries, the Whau River Catchment is now united under the new super-city, Auckland Council and is administered by the following Local Boards

  • The Whau Local Board
  • The Henderson-Massey Local Board
  • The Puketāpapa Local Board
  • The Waitākere Ranges Local Board.

Friends of the Whau was formed in Auckland in July 2000 in response to local concerns over activities that were having adverse environmental effects on the health and well-being of the Whau River. The FOW was established after a report was released by Waitakere City Council on the degraded condition of the Avondale Stream and a major pollution incident occurred in the Whau River estuary from an adjoing business area. Local residents were also concerned at the environmental impacts of jet skis on the Whau River.

FOW has more than 200 individuals and organisations which support our various environmental activities on a regular basis. This number is swelled by the many additional volunteers who turn to up on the day to help out at specific events.

The Friends of the Whau Volunteers:

To maintain our momentum and increase our group’s effectiveness, we welcome new volunteers with diverse backgrounds, interests, and talents. You might like to consider joining our team volunteers to lead, or just join in our many activities and events.

How to Become a Member

See Current Events: You will find that we are flexible and our volunteers enjoy helping each other.
View EcoEvents


Awards received

Ministry for the Environment’s Green Ribbon Award June 2002 – “Urban Conservation” category.

Infratil Waitakere City Community Awards 2010 – Heritage and Environment Friends of the Whau & New Lynn Sea Scout Group.

Wai Care Awards 2011 – Community Group Involvement in Action – 1st Place

Auckland Council Infratil Community Awards 2011 – Heritage and Environment Recognition award.

Green Ribbon Award


What FOW do:

Our purpose is to raise community awareness about environmental issues affecting the Whau River catchment and to mobilise community energy to take practical action. We do this by supporting volunteers through education and practical action to restore the ecology of the Whau River catchment.

Our aim is to restore the Whau River systems’ natural ecology by promoting the reduction of pollution and in the ecological restoration of the area by encouraging the natural regeneration of the native flora and fauna. We also aim to raise awareness and encourage the community to actively participate in the protection and restoration of the river’s ecology, history and cultural associations.

FOW promotes ecological health, we organize regular community – based activities to:

  • Monitor the biodiversity and ecosystems of the catchment
  • Biosecurity – Manage weed and animal pests
  • Reduce pollution and remove litter
  • Ecological restoration by undertaking eco-sourced planting programmes on the margins of riparian areas and else where within the catchment
  • Wildlife habitat restoration

To raise community awareness of the environmental threats and opportunities facing the Whau Catchment we:

  • Work closely with schools, community groups and local businesses
  • Talk with local developers and property owners about the need to minimise environmental impacts upon the Whau River
  • Inform residents about what they can do on their own private properties and in their communities e.g. through the Sustainable Neighbourhoods Program.
  • Advocate for better public access to waterways e.g. Greenways, walkways and cycleways.
  • Encourage collection of the historic, cultural and natural associations of the communities within the catchment and make these available through public displays, videos, websites, library archives etc
  • Collaborate with other environmental organisations such as WaiCare, Keep Waitakere Beautiful, Weedfree Trust, Project Twin Streams, Forest & Bird etc
  • Liaise and negotiate with Council, Local Boards and water supply authorities e.g. Water Care to ensure their programs and policies support ecological goals.
  •  Encourage new skills such as plant propagation and maintenance, water quality monitoring, weed identification and control, pest monitoring etc. for best ecological outcomes
  • Undertake site analysis and design for ecological plantings within public reserves and on private land areas
  • Organise public presentations, meetings and workshops
  • Use social media to inform FOW Club members and the wider public.


Steven Neville: Auckland Photography for the impressive website banner photos and some of the gallery photographs.

Phil Summerhays: Kelston Boys High school for restoration work at Rewarewa Stream.

Simarpreet Preet: Dera Sacha Sauda group who have assisted on many of our planting projects.

Auckland Council: Whau / Henderson Massey Local Boards.

Auckland Council: Sustainable Neighbourhood Programme (Karen Summerhays).
Local and Sports Parks – West Volunteer and Biodiversity Coordinator (Huw Hill-Male).
Parks, Sports and Recreation Division, Central Local and Sports Park Unit – Volunteer and Biodiversity Coordinator.

We sincerely thank all our volunteers for their time in helping to restore the Whau River Catchment’s natural ecology.