Mountains to Sea

Mountains to Sea

Solving New Zealand’s Freshwater Crisis

Back in stock – reprinted due to popular demand!

It strikes me with great clarity that if you look at the problems in isolation they each seem intractable; but when you grasp that there could be one single solution, then suddenly there is a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel.

The state of New Zealand’s freshwater has become a pressing public issue in recent years. From across the political spectrum, concern is growing about the pollution of New Zealand’s rivers and streams. We all know they need fixing. But how do we do it?

In Mountains to Sea, leading ecologist Mike Joy teams up with thinkers from all walks of life to consider how we can solve New Zealand’s freshwater crisis. The book covers a wide range of topics, including food production, public health, economics and Māori narratives of water. Mountains to Sea offers new perspectives on this urgent problem.

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Mike Joy; Tina Ngata; Nick Kim; Vanessa Hammond; Alison Dewes; Paul Tapsell, Peter Fraser; Kyleisha Foote; Catherine Knight; Steve Carden; Phil McKenzie; Chris Perley.

Table of contents

1 Introduction, Mike Joy
2 Wai māori, Tina Ngata
3 Broad-scale contaminants on agricultural land, Nick D. Kim
4 New Zealand freshwater management – a public health perspective, Vanessa Hammond
5 One World, One Health, One Humanity – whenua, rongoā, tangata, Paul Tapsell and Alison Dewes
6 The economics of water storage – is it really a ‘no brainer’?, Peter Fraser
7 The hidden cost of food production, Kyleisha Foote
8 Are politics getting in the way of good freshwater governance?, Catherine Knight
9 Pāmu – a new future of food, Steven Carden and Phil McKenzie
10 Reimagining landscapes as socio- and agro-ecosystems, Chris Perley
Afterword, Mike Joy

Print publication:
Ebook publication: Nov 2018
Pages: 200
RRP: $14.99
ISBN: 9781988545431
DOI: 10.7810/9781988545431

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'New Zealand's polluted waterways threaten our health', Mike Joy, Newsroom, 8 May 2020.

'Book review - Mountains to Sea', Rata Pryor-Rodgers, Te Karaka, 18 December 2018.

'Book review - Mountains to Sea', Harry Broad on Nine to Noon, RNZ, 17 December 2018.

'Voices on Water Must Be Heard', Elspeth McLean, Otago Daily Times, 2 February 2019, p.11.

'Solving NZ's freshwater headache: 'We have waited far too long'', interview with Jamie Morton, NZ Herald, 29 January 2019.

'Book review - Mountains to Sea', Rata Pryor-Rodgers, Te Karaka, 18 December 2018.

'Book review - Mountains to Sea', Harry Broad on Nine to Noon, RNZ, 17 December 2018.

'Livestock industry pushing New Zealand to ecological 'tipping point', says top ecologist', LIVEKINDLY, 3 December 2018.

'Ecologist issues dire warning about NZ's freshwater' (9'21''), Newshub Nation, 26 November 2018.

'A glimpse of light in confronting NZ’s environmental crisis' [book extract], Mike Joy, The Spinoff, 21 November 2018.

'Mike Joy - Solving NZ's freshwater crisis', Jesse Mulligan, RNZ, 12 November 2018.

'You can’t be a kaitiaki from a distance', Kennedy Warne, e-Tangata, 11 November 2018.

'Wai Māori: a Māori perspective on the freshwater debate' [book extract], Tina Ngata, The Spinoff, 6 November 2018.


'Mike Joy has made a remarkable contribution to raising the whole question of freshwater and pollution ... It’s a great little book but it’s kind of serious. I mean you’ll read it after all the thrillers and the Christmas pudding is gone… If there’s one serious book, you’ve got to read this.'
Harry Broad on Nine to Noon, RNZ, 17 December 2018.

'But when you start thinking about the solution given in this book and what it could mean for many of our waterways, it does provide a little bit of excitement for what the future can hold.'
Rata Pryor-Rodgers (Ngāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe), Te Karaka, 18 December 2018.

'Mountains to Sea packs a punch beyond its size.'
- Elspeth McLean, 'Voices on Water Must Be Heard', Otago Daily Times, 2 February 2019, p.11.