The Trust was established as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding between Mercury (formerly Mighty River Power) and parties with ecological interests in Lake Taupo and the Waikato River during the resource consents process for operation of the Waikato Hydro Scheme.

The organisations who are parties to this Trust are Mercury, Department of Conservation, Fish and Game New Zealand Auckland/Waikato Region, Fish and Game New Zealand Eastern Region, Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society Incorporated and the Advisory Committee for Regional Environment.

Mercury, the owner and operator of the Waikato Hydro Scheme, applied under the Resource Management Act (RMA) to replace the expiring resource consents that authorise the operation of the Hydro Scheme. Those organisations who are parties to this Trust worked together to develop an appropriate response in RMA terms to those applications. They recognised that there are a variety of ecological changes occurring in Lake Taupo, the Waikato River and hydro lake environments as a result of natural processes, other activities in the catchment and the operation of the Hydro Scheme.

In response to these changes the parties considered it desirable to develop a practical means of achieving:

  • an acceptable response to the ongoing ecological changes occurring throughout the Lake Taupo and Waikato River catchments;
  • an acceptable response to changes associated with the operation of the Waikato hydro system; and
  • wider ecological benefits.

Accordingly the parties worked together to develop a Memorandum of Understanding, dated 15 October 2002. Included in the outcomes of the Memorandum was the establishment of a Trust with the following purpose and objectives.