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E ko wai kei runga nei e tūpā whai ake

E ko au ko Uenuku e tūpā whai ake

E Rata he aha tāu e tūpā whai ake

Unumia te kawa, tākina te kawa

Te kawa tuanihinihi – te kawa tuarangaranga

Te kawa o wai, te kawa o Takitimu


Ministry for the Environment (MfE) Te Mana o te Wai (TMoTW) Rotorua Conference 28-29 June 2023


Representatives of thirty-five (35) projects funded under TMoTW attended the above conference.  All gave presentations and feedback on what their mahi to achieve outcomes that support TMoTW values and principles and of the importance of WAI to the wellbeing of tangata.

Minister David Parker opened the conference. Four central government Ministries and local authorities were on stage to give their insight into how hapū and Iwi can be enabled through authentic relationships and other ways and means.  But overall, the same issues that were on the table 10 to15 years ago are still on the table.  

What I took out of this informative conference, were the fresh faces of our rangatahi coming through and the call for collective cohesion and collaboration.

I shared a table with the CEO for the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.  A lot of positive feedback for her came from the tangata whenua in terms of how responsive that council have with their 11 separate Iwi in the region.  Heck, HBRC has only four Iwi.

This month Morry Black of Mauri Protection Agency provided the following additional observations about the conference.


Environment Bay of Plenty (EBOP) Regional Council introduced Māori Wards in 2004 and was the first regional council in Aotearoa to do so. Consequently, the relationship between the council and tangata whenua in the Bay of Plenty has matured and Māori priorities within the Taiao space and regional planning have considerable influence.


During a panel discussion at the conference, the EBOP Chief Executive elaborated on this relationship and how it worked across the various departments in the council. Information on their Māori wards can be found by clicking on this link Māori constituencies (


In his  opening address the Minister for the Environment David Parker spent some time elaborating on different aspects of the RMA and the reforms for Freshwater Planning. Three elements of these reforms have particular significance within Heretaunga and throughout Hawke’s Bay region in general. SEE BELOW:


Te Mana o Te Wai (TMoTW) being enabled through the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM) 2020

The changes to the NPSFM in 2020 at first glance appeared quite positive, and support for the priority setting under TMoTW remains.

However, the amendments made in February 2023 provide a bit more detail and allow for things like environmental offsetting, whereby councils can allow water to degrade in one part of a river catchment or Freshwater Management Units (FMU), provided an improvement in water quality is made in another part of that same catchment or FMU.

This is akin to degradation being allowed within say the parts of Ngāti Hawea and Ngāti Kautere of the Tukituki Awa, provided an improvement is made up in parts of Ngāti Marau or Ngai Te Upokoiri of the Tukituki.

Apart from going against our Manaakitanga principles, this would also mean that the council gets to define what level of degradation can occur.

This is one of the reasons why HBRC has been promoting large Water Management Areas through TANK and large FMUs in the Kotahi Plan, while Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc. (NKII) and Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga (TToH) have been pushing hard for smaller FMUs based on Hapū clusters or collectives.

Smaller FMUs at the sub-catchment scale would result in better management and accountability outcomes overall while enabling greater expression of mana whenua/mana moana.

Restructuring Under Three Waters

There has been extensive pushback from the local government against the proposed Three Waters reforms, and opposition from various organisations against Māori being partners in any governance entity established under the legislation.


Central Government has now rebranded Three Waters as “Affordable Water” and changed the narrative as a result. In one of the workshops, they ran at the conference Morry was promoting the idea that irrigation water should be added to the “Three Waters” regulations, because:


·      Often it was the abstraction of water for irrigation from our rivers and aquifers that contributed to higher nutrient concentrations, and this exacerbated water quality decline with increased risks to human health and safe domestic supply;


·      The vast amounts of groundwater abstracted from the Heretaunga Plains and other aquifers throughout Aotearoa, means that residence time for the water within the aquifers is severely reduced, to the extent that there is insufficient time for Papatūānuku to filter and “cleanse” it through natural processes and timescales;


·      Excessive abstraction from groundwater means reduced spring’ flows into our streams, reductions in flow dynamics and cooling mechanisms for the water left in the streams (Water from springs is usually significantly cooler), and


·      Depleted stream and river flows mean that any treated wastewater, stormwater discharges, and discharges from industry into our rivers and streams, have a more profound effect on environmental and cultural values.


Common sense and logic do not always prevail when our regulators hold their numerous meetings to determine the best way forward for freshwater resources, and for some reason, the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) have undue influence on environmental policy.


Specific Exemptions for Quarries Under the NPSFM

In the NPSFM 2020 (as amended in February 2023), there is now a directive that requires freshwater in rivers and wetlands to be managed in such a manner that there is no reduction in the area (spatial extent) covered by the river or wetland.

Quarries are exempted from this restriction, meaning that if a quarry is established next to a river (e.g., at Maraekākaho) than any water that runs into the quarry because of the abstraction of gravel, is allowed to diminish the spatial area of the adjacent river.



Lake Poukawa and Pekapeka

Over May 2023 Ngaio Tiuka, Director Environment and Natural Resources for NKII and Morry Black held a few Zoom Hui with Te Tumu Paeroa (TTP) - the Māori Trustee’s lawyer, planner, and cultural representatives, as they were drafting a letter to HBRC’s legal team regarding the possibility of re-instating Lake Poukawa and Pekapeka Wetlands as outstanding water bodies, without having to go to the upcoming hearing.

Their reasons were due to the outstanding cultural and spiritual values of the lake and wetlands being widely known. HBRC had previously deleted them from the schedule of outstanding water bodies in the PC7, citing a lack of alignment with HBRC’s new assessment criteria.

TTP mentioned that reinstatement would save costs through not having to compile and produce evidence, plus any associated Environment Court hearing costs. Morry drafted a letter of support for TTP’s position and recently HBRC released a revised version of their preferences for PC7. This new version has Lake Poukawa and Pekapeka reinstated.

Although we will still need to keep an eye on any potential opposition from other parties to the appeals, the fact that HBRC now considers these waters either have sufficient evidence to support reinstatement or alternatively, not enough evidence to refute their reinstatement on cultural grounds, is significant.


Ngaruroro River

Following mediation, a judicial conference, and the drafting of joint memoranda, HBRC has also reinstated the Lower Ngaruroro as an outstanding water body in PC7. This decision reflects the result of an appeal to the Environment Court by Forest and Bird seeking to overturn part of the Water Conservation Order (WCO) special tribunal’s ruling on the Ngaruroro River.

The tribunal had ruled that the Upper Ngaruroro had outstanding bird habitat but not the Lower Ngaruroro. The Environment Court agreed with Forest and Bird that the whole of the Ngaruroro River has outstanding aquatic bird habitat values.

The NPSFM requires that the significant values of outstanding water bodies are protected. HBRC is attempting to delay the identification of cultural and spiritual values for the Ngaruroro River until the Kotahi Plan, but the Environment Court judge hearing the PC7 appeals may see the merit in identifying the significant values for the Ngaruroro River now rather than later.  Failure of council to identify them in PC7 would mean that they will not get the protection required by law until the Kotahi Plan becomes operative, which could be up to five years away.

Through our appeal, TToH seeks the inclusion of the following significant values for the Ngaruroro River:

·      Ecology: Fish passage, Fish spawning

·      Cultural/spiritual: Mahinga kai[1], Nohoanga, Tauranga waka, Hauora – cleansing, Mauri, Kōhanga ika

·      Natural character: Aquifer recharge



As with several other matters at HBRC, the processes for determining mediation timelines and topic priority for the PC9 appeals were postponed due to cyclone recovery initiatives.

Parties have agreed on a suite of topics for mediation, plus the necessity for a preliminary consideration on the weighting to be given to the NPSFM 2020 and whether FMUs should be included in PC9.

A comment made by the judge at the recent judicial conference was that a proposed plan must consider the NPSFM while an operative plan must give effect to it. This implies support for the TToH and NKII positions on the NPSFM and FMUs.

The HBRC position seems illogical in this regard, inter alia - that their current version of PC9 should not be required to give effect to some parts of the NPSFM, but when PC9 becomes operative, it will then be required to do so.


Element of Risk

There is a risk that PC9 could be overtaken by the Kotahi Plan. There are just over 17 months before the Kotahi Plan – which will replace the entire Regional Resource Management Plan (RRMP), the Coastal Environment Plan, and the Regional Policy Statement (RPS) - must legally be notified.

With numerous appeals on PC9 and mediation only just starting to get underway, the statutory legal processes to enable PC9 to become operative may not be completed before the Kotahi Plan is publicly notified. This would lead to an overlap in regulatory responses to regional planning and the consideration of resource consent issues.

The other risk identified here is the timeframe for introducing the Natural and Built Environments Act (NBEA) into the local regional planning regime. Although the NPSFM will endure after the RMA is abolished, the NBEA could take considerable time to embed within regional planning. In the interim, provisions in our operative regional plans will prevail as we transition across into the new regime (NBEA, Climate Adaptation Act, Spatial Planning Act, Affordable Water, etc.).

During any period of transition, there is risk. Additional to this are the emergency management responses under the guise of Cyclone Recovery, whereby some elements of environmental protection get put on hold[2].


Fast Track Consenting – Gravel Extraction Quarries

There are two applications for quarrying activities that have come up. The maps supplied by the consultants appear to show the same general areas for the proposed quarries, indicating that the reason for two separate applications may be because of the affected land titles.

We have been discussing these applications with NKII and have been contemplating what approach to take with them. The overall approach should include resourcing for levels of the engagement process, that our governance and Marae representatives are kept informed, and costs associated with Cultural Values Assessments and subsequent monitoring of the consent activities.

As the quarry is planned to be “up to 30 meters” deep[3], the hydraulic connection to the adjacent Ngaruroro River will result in a substantial drawdown from the river once quarry operations cease.

This will leave another dam which the landowners can then utilise in conjunction with other dams to either supplement the flow of the Ngaruroro River to keep it above the minimum and thus allow for continued water abstraction from the awa, or to lease water out to other interests they have water supply contracts with e.g., vineyards or the Ngaruroro Irrigation Society which has 37 members who irrigate from the Ngaruroro and Maraekākaho Rivers.

There is the ability to apply leverage by restricting any long-term consequential water abstraction where water either seeps through from the Ngaruroro or induces flow loss from the Maraekākaho River, as there is still a limit on the amount of water that can be abstracted from these rivers under operative planning provisions.

These issues may not arise in the early stages of quarry establishment, but once the abstraction gets down into the deeper layers, it will become a relevant matter to address.


Pump Stations in Heretaunga and Fish Passage

Due to the new fish passage provisions in the NPSFM, HBRC is now required to enable fish passage through all the waterways that they regulate, including the drains that form part of the drainage networks within or on the periphery of, our towns and cities.

Currently, the pump stations within these chop up a percentage of the fish that attempt to traverse the drains as part of their normal life-cycle processes – e.g., seasonal migration for spawning or general access to and from the marine and estuarine environments. Fish species also get washed down into the drains during medium/high rainfall events before coming up against the pump stations.

HBRC is in the process of seeking resource consent for the upgrading of their pump stations and/or the installation of new structures to assist with fish passage through 23 of the drains and waterways that they administer. Seven of these are within or on the edge of Heretaunga.

TToH and NKII have entered into an engagement process with HBRC’s consultants, who are both former council staff members. The consultants have supplied a document highlighting the key issues as they see them, but to date, it is uncertain whether the discharges from the drains are currently regulated.

One of the consultants has designed a series of fish passage structures but to date they have not been rigorously tested. The costs for fish passage structures range from $348,000 to over $2.8 million depending on the location and specifics of the drains and installation requirements.

We met with some of HBRC’s consents team on 19 July 2023 on another matter, but while there had a brief conversation about the issues around the drains and fish passage. This meeting was also to get some clarity on whether the water quality of discharges from the drains a relevant issue in terms of the resource consent applications is.

We were told that the council is seeking a legal opinion on this. The placement of new fish passage structures is a discretionary activity in regional plans while the upgrading of existing infrastructure is a restricted discretionary activity.


Renewal of Resource Consents to Take Groundwater from the Heretaunga Aquifer

A hui on 19 July with the HBRC consents team yielded some good information relating to the renewal of numerous consents to abstract groundwater from within the Heretaunga and Napier areas.

For Heretaunga there are 800 resource consents to abstract groundwater that will expire between 2022 and 2026, with a further 528 after that. Under section 124 of the RMA, they are permitted to continue to operate under their existing consents and the volumes in those consent conditions, while the consents go through the renewal process.

Total volumes previously approved for all abstractions from the Heretaunga Groundwater Area equate to 154 million cubic meters per annum with the irrigation component sitting at around 62 million. The HBRC decisions on PC9 seek to reduce the 154 total down to 90 million, while the application of the “actual and reasonable use[4]” criteria to the consents for irrigation would reduce the irrigation quantity to around 31 million.

It is early days yet, but the consent processing team is of the view that they are required to give significant weight to the HBRC’s decision on the 90 million total (reduced from 154 million) while acknowledging that this figure is also subject to appeal[5].

With the groundwater consents that have come through to TMT so far, the approach was initially to reduce the volumes by 10 percent, but this was then reduced further to around 33 percent so that the total would align with what TToH sought in our PC9 appeal.  We are awaiting a response from the consents team who are finalising their percentage decreases for all these consents, before sending their data.


PC5 Right Homes, Right Place

The submission closing date of Saturday 15 July 2023 to the notification of PC5 Proposed Plan Change 5 (PPC5) Right Homes, Right Place has been extended to 15 August 2023. A submission had already been lodged but will be reviewed before the extended closing date.


PPC 5 introduces changes to the Hastings District Plan (HDP) to enable more housing including three-storey houses and apartments to be built within existing residential areas. Within the Medium Density Residential Zone, the building is proposed to occur without the affected parties’ consent.


In the General Residential Zoned areas, if all the rules are met, more houses up to three stories high will be able to be built without neighbours’ approval.


Waters Water Supplier Process (Marae, whānau)

As reported in May and June this year, this process involves marae and household bores that supply water to more than two houses. Something that would affect papakainga.


Registration for current water suppliers is 15 November 2023. However, there is a deadline for new water supplier registration of November 2028, and we have linked marae with Taumata Arowai, the regulators for water supplier compliance, to find out where they sit.


We will also be keeping this issue in front of the marae at TRoH.


MfE Severe Weather Integrated Response: Waste Management

During the first week of May, MfE held a series of online hui for tangata whenua with a focus on kōrero on how recent severe weather events had impacted communities. The online hui provided depth on proposals for waste management Orders in Council (OiC); whakaaro about managing sewage and waste, tangata whenua at the decision-making table, and upholding TMoTW to protect and restore Te Taiao, particularly for mitigation of future severe weather events.

A temporary accommodation OiC has been added to the online hui agenda as a late addition. The only amendments needed are to the RMA. As a result, the MfE are now leading on this proposal and the online hui in May will shift to fortnightly hui for six months on their natural hazard kaupapa. 

There are five proposals in the tranche that focus on extensions for councils’ statutory functions. Proposals 1, 2, 3, and 5 would give councils more time to carry out existing functions or requirements under the RMA.

a)  National Policy Statement - Freshwater Management: extend from December 2024 until December 2027, the requirement to notify freshwater management instruments. Applies to HBRC.

b)  National Policy Statement – Highly Productive Land: delay the mapping requirement deadline from October 2025 until June 2027. Applies to HBRC.

c)  National Policy Statement -UD: waive the requirement to develop future development strategies to feed into long-term plans by mid-2024, while maintaining the requirement for councils to ensure sufficient housing timeframes for local council consenting, compliance, and plan changes: Severe weather OiC engagement material five development in appropriate locations. This applies to NDC, HDC, and HBRC.

d)  National Planning Standards: delay until December 2026 the requirement for proposed plans and plan amendments to comply with certain National Planning Standards. The original date was November 2024. Applies to HDC. Tangata whenua may be impacted, including as mana whenua who would be consulted on Freshwater Management and Future Development Strategies, as kaitiaki of whenua and wai that are affected by freshwater management decisions, stock exclusion decisions, and the like.


Awa Monitors Hui for Global Gravel Consents

A hui was held with awa monitors to discuss the importance of their role, and to clarify and establish an effective engagement process with an aim to maintain consistency in their approach with other consent holders by exchanging knowledge and experiences.


Discussion included working collectively towards implementing best practices, identifying potential areas of concern that may impact the effectiveness of operations. Among other items of importance:

·         The importance of enhancing and restoring the ecological integrity of rivers,

·         Focusing on bird and fish conservation,

·         Incorporating Mātauranga Māori monitoring, and Mauri enhancement plans for positive changes, Documenting specific outcomes desired for enhancement and restoration,

·         Building a positive and productive relationship with the council for support and authorization




Māori Genuine Progress Indicator Accounting

MBIE Mid-Term Reporting

Our MBIE mid-term progress report was submitted in late April this year and in mid-July we received official notification from our MBIE Project Manager that the report had been received and approved. The approval of a mid-term report triggers the release of Stage 2 funding for this project. While this was the official notification from MBIE, we had already received oral confirmation as to the approval of our mid-term report, as part of a Zoom call with MBIE Vision Mātauranga staff in mid-June.

The feedback that we received as part of the Zoom call was both insightful and encouraging. The acting manager of MBIE’s Vision Mātauranga Project told Dr Cole that they continue to view our project as a flagship project that is (i) charting new ground and (ii) generating outcomes beyond what has been produced by projects of this kind in the past.

We were also given positive feedback about the quality of our mid-term report. The MBIE spokesperson that Dr Cole spoke to said that it was really helpful for them to have such a well-written, detailed report.

This was quite a challenging progress report to write because our project has so many moving, inter-connected parts. We were concerned that it would be hard for MBIE staff to assess the broader significance of our project over the last 12 months. For this reason, it was good to get this feedback on the impact of mid-term report. This is an outcome that we can all be proud of.

Pathway 2 Training

In early July we completed the last of our Pathway 2 training activities. A total of six whānau from various marae/hapū in Heretaunga have now completed their Pathway 2 training and have now moved on into differing training/creative activity roles.


Two of our Pathway 2 Pūkenga (Bryarn Nuku and Daniel Cremins) are currently working fulltime with Dr Cole on a cultural revision of the HDC Stormwater Resource Consent. Another two of our Pathway 2 Pūkenga (Mareina Apatu and Te Uira Tomoana) are currently involved in the Wai262 project.


Pūkenga Ana Te Whaiti is currently leading a joint Department of Conservation (DoC) and Ngā Whenua Rāhui project that is providing cultural oversight for the Cape Sanctuary project. Pūkenga Renee Paku is continuing her involvement as part of the Pathway 1 Training Program, now focusing on building mGPI accounts in a whānau context.



Pathway 1 Training

Over the last 12 months, those involved in monthly Pathway 1 Training have been focusing on learning and building confidence in the use of a range of technology and software tools that can be used to support digital storytelling.


Having successfully completed this part of the training program, we are now beginning to build ‘whānau’ implementations of mGPI accounts as a training exercise. To support this stage in our training we have stepped up our training activities to every two weeks. This week, for the first time, our Pathway 2 Pūkenga are also joining in the Pathway 1 Training experience and will be participating in building a ‘whānau’ mGPI accounting system of their own.


There are a couple of reasons for bringing these two training pathways back together.


First, Pathway 1 is now the place of innovation that is piloting the first pūkenga-led build of ‘whānau-based’ mGPI accounts. By reconnecting pathways 1 and 2 we keep everyone up to date with emerging developments at this innovation frontier.


Second, while our Pathway 2 whānau are working in various RMA, Wai262 and creative activity spaces, their core interest/passion remains in whānau/marae/hapū led mGPI accounting. By reconnecting Pathways 1 and 2 we are making sure that we all stayed aligned with this shared moemoeā.


Looking Towards the End of our Current MBIE Contract

As part of our current MBIE VM project, we have committed ourselves to run New Zealand’s first mGPI accounting conference in Hastings in May/June 2024. Given the progress we have made over the last 14 months, this is a very appropriate ending for what is now a 4-year journey in Heretaunga.


We have started the kōrero aimed at collectively exploring what this event could look like.


Future Funding

Over the next 6 months there are a number MBIE funding opportunities that are strongly aligned with our work. The first of these funding opportunities is linked with the MBIE ‘Curious Minds’ funding area. We submitted an official registration of interest for this funding through the MBIE portal. Over the next month, we will be concentrating on developing and writing a full proposal.


This funding area will provide us with an opportunity to connect our ground-breaking mGPI accounting creative activities with the learning needs of ‘hard to reach’ rangatahi. This funding opportunity supports an aspiration held by our Pathway 2 whānau to better understand how we can engage rangatahi in mGPI accounting activities (generally) and longer-term STEM-based educational opportunities.


We now have a wonderful opportunity to begin exploring just what a journey of this kind could look like.


CIA Projects

Below is a list of CIA Projects that we have commenced and/or are close to signing off:

·         HDC Stormwater Cultural Assessment - now signed off with the first invoicing sent off. This is a 10–12-month project that will include three of our Ngā Manu o te Whatu team members with supervision from Dr Anthony Cole. Ngā Manu o te Whatu have run an initial orientation wānanga for this project with the representatives of Te Rūnanganui. A survey of literature and online digital resources is not nearing completion, and the team is planning to start oral interviews.

·      Tikokino Solar Farm - we are supporting Te Taiao o Tamatea in leading this out with Jo Heperi, sister of the late JB Smith-Heperi. Our part is to provide the GIS mapping, a small contribution to engaging one of our Ngā Manu o te Whatu team member. An offer of services has been co-created (with mana whenua at the Taiwhenua office in Tamatea) for this work and has been released to the developer (i.e., Elemental Group) for approval.

·         HDC Wastewater - this is currently on the HDC priority list to call for tenders from interested parties. We will be putting in a tender.

·         Cape Kidnappers Farm 32 Home Eco-Development Proposal – will be coming on stream in the next 2-3 months. We have indicated our interest to undertake this CIA.

·         Tauroa Farm Trust Sanctuary Fence Proposed for 2024 - we have indicated an interest to undertake this project as well. Our Ngā Manu o te Whatu team have completed an initial site visit to Tauroa station which was facilitated by the owners/managers.

We can demonstrate that our trained Ngā Manu o te Whatu team is capable and willing to engage in this mahi and be paid for it.


Mauri ora e!


[1] Mahinga kai as a place, site or area, practice and/or use.

[2] Local government is looking at suspending the air quality rules to enable burning of forestry slash, plus more lenient approaches to sediment management to expedite the transition of horticultural land back into production.

[3] As stipulated in the information supplied by the applicants’ consultants.

[4] Actual and Reasonable is an assessment criteria that HBRC seeks to embed within PC9. It relates to allowing for the existing use (quantity) of water for each consent being renewed to continue, however in other parts of the PC9, council states that the Heretaunga Groundwater Management Area is over-allocated, while their 90 million cubic meters per year limit is an interim limit, which indicates uncertainty as to whether this amount is sustainable or not.

[5] TToH seeks to reduce this further, down to 70 million cubic meters per annum.

Finger on the Taiao Pulse - TK Report July 2023


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