ONE News Reporter
Those involved with caring for the Waikato River say there is more work to be done to clean it up after it was given a C+ mark in a new report card.
New Zealand's first Iwi- Crown co-management body ranked the river on water quality, security, ecology and food source.
"C+ is a low grade and D is a poor, a failure, so it's not a complete fail," NIWA chief scientist Dr John Quinn says.
Its origin scored best for quality and ecological integrity, but drainage and flood control has done extensive damage to its lower region.
Where it meets the Waipa River is the spot where all conditions worsen, including the counts for e.coli.
"It would take a brave person to take food from it," Tuku Morgan of the Waikato River Authority says.
The authority has spent $22.4m over five years on improvement projects, including planting 1m trees and fencing 85km.
Its work is planned to last another 25 years, and an investment fund has been established.
"We have to challenge ourselves to do better and we have to do better," Mr Morgan added.