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Valuing Our Waters (Tasman District)

We partnered with Tasman District Council to explore how to define freshwater uses and values for the Tasman Resource Management Plan. We invited a range of stakeholders from across the Tasman District to help us understand the diverse uses and values of freshwater in the district. Over the course of five workshops, the group explored the challenges of identifying freshwater values and documenting them in a regional planning document.

Our findings can be found in:

TANK collaborative process (Hawke’s Bay)

In 2012 we started working with the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, which has convened a collaborative stakeholder group to recommend water quantity and quality limits for the Greater Heretaunga and Ahuriri catchment plan change.

The collaborative group, referred to locally as the TANK group (*an acronym for the Tūtaekuri, Ahuriri, Ngaruroro, and Karamu river catchments), is made up of approximately 30 representatives from agricultural, horticultural, and public health sectors, environmental and community interest groups, regional and district councils, and tangata whenua.

The catchment area is the economic engine of Hawke’s Bay, containing thousands of hectares of highly productive farms, orchards, and vineyards that rely on access to water for irrigation. The catchments, where most of the residents of Hawke’s Bay live and enjoy their leisure, are also the ancestral home of many Māori hapū who retain strong connections to water and land and who are concerned by the reduced access to mahinga kai species and the declining state of rivers, lakes, wetlands, and estuaries.

The learnings from the TANK process are documented under collaborative processes.

Freshwater Values: River Values Assessment System (RiVAS)

We have further developed and applied the River Values Assessment System (RiVAS), a tool for ranking the rivers in a region for a given use or value.

RiVAS applications are now available for nine values (salmonid angling, irrigation, native birdlife, white-water kayaking, swimming, natural character, tangata whenua, hydropower, and native fisheries). Jetboating, hydropower and whitebaiting tools are in development.

In the Tasman and Hawke’s Bay case studies, we are also exploring how RiVAS assessments can help inform collaborative decision-making and how RiVAS can be used to support the National Objectives Framework . Numerous reports on the application of RiVAS are available.

Assessing Values for Resource Management Discussions

Drawing extensively on our Tasman and Hawke’s Bay case studies, our reports for Auckland Council and the Ministry for the Environment summarise our findings about tools to identify and assess values to inform the implementation of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.