The Kaituna River Authority says it is an ongoing challenge to reverse damage to the awa, but it is heading in the right direction.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council said the river's water quality is steadily improving due to work by Affco's Rangiuru freezing works and farmers in the area.
It said the awa had been polluted by stock grazing and nutrients washing into it from farms, urban areas and the company.
The authority Te Maru o Kaituna was established in July this year with eight members from the regional councils and local iwi.
Its deputy chairperson and Bay of Plenty regional councillor, Arapeta Tahana, said he was happy that the water quality had improved.
Mr Tahana said it would take some time before the Kaituna is completely back to its healthy state and living up to its name again after 100 years of intensive land use.