Braided river systems are a rare geological feature evident in only a handful of other countries. More than 60 per cent of Aotearoa New Zealand’s braided rivers are right here in Canterbury.

These unique river systems support a vibrant and diverse ecosystem that stretches from the mountains to the sea, ki uta ki tai. A wide variety of birds, fish, reptiles, invertebrates, plants, lichens, mosses and fungi, many of which are now threatened or endangered, have adapted to thrive in these challenging and dynamic environments, each of them dependent on one another.

Over time, the ecological and biodiversity values of our region's braided rivers have deteriorated as a result of weeds and pest animals, water abstraction, land development, river control works and encroachment, climate change and damage from recreational use.

These once-thriving biodiversity hotspots need our help to protect their endangered ecosystems from extinction.