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  • New Zealand native bird, the pūkeko, swimming in a lake.
    Rights: Public domain Published 4 April 2023 Size: 3.4 MB Referencing Hub media

    The freshwater environment is a holistic system that connects landscapes, ecosystems and people. Freshwater connections can be physical, ecological, social, cultural or economic.

    All freshwater occurs within a catchment – an area of land, often bordered by hills or mountains, in which the water is collected and through which it moves.

    Catchments host ecosystems – the interactions/connections between plants, animals and microorganisms and the physical and chemical components of the natural environment.

    Humans also have connections with freshwater. Water is the basis for all life. It is taonga, something to be cherished and looked after. For Māori, wai holds mauri – a spiritual life force that links the health of freshwater to everything that is connected to it.

    The following resources provide information about the many connections within freshwater systems.




    Image: Pūkeko. Public domain.

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