Regional Forum

Playing a part in Southland's future

The Regional Forum is a community based group that will advise Environment Southland’s council and Te Ao Marama board members on how we can achieve the communities’ aspirations for freshwater. Members of the forum will consider the specific policies and rules as well as the on-ground initiatives required to make change and improve Southland’s water and land for generations to come.

In this important role, members will play a key part in shaping how Southland’s water resources are managed now and in the future.

After each workshop it is our intention to share an overview of what the forum has been working on.

Workshop One - 4 & 5 April 2019

This first workshop focused on allowing the members to start to get to know one another; to start exploring their roles and responsibilities as well as the roles of Environment Southland and Te Ao Marama; to start developing a code of conduct and begin to explore the context of the work ahead, in particular change and decision making.

Check out this short highlights video from the first workshop.

The key takeout messages from the group were:

  • We have started! The Forum members are excited to have started on the journey. They are looking forward to receiving the community’s values and objectives from the Share your Wai campaign.
  • Thanks to the Marae team and the Awarua Runanga who made us so welcome – We couldn’t think of a better place to start our journey.The group started their work by considering the context within which decisions on freshwater are made. Bluff was a great place to look out over the region, exploring the relationship of freshwater bodies within the physical landscape and the concept of ki uta ki tai, mountains to the sea. The group considered the role of time in decision making, exploring social, economic and other historical trends on freshwater uses, the interconnections and interdependencies between communities. Beginning their work within the beautiful Te Rau Aroha Marae enabled the group to explore different cultural frames within which decisions are made.
  • We have begun building a united group where our diversity of thinking and perspectives can be harnessed for a common purpose to achieve positive outcomes for the Southland community. The group recognised the diverse skills, experience and perspectives they brought to the table and agreed they share a genuine desire to learn from and understand each other.
  • We wish to thank the members of the public who contributed – Lloyd Esler and Estelle Pera-Leask who led the field trips, sharing their historic knowledge and the work of the Motopuhue Trust, as well as the Environment Southland/ Te Ao Marama staff who worked together seamlessly as one team. We also want to thank all those that took the time to come to the public session and join us for a workshop exploring our ‘Vision for the future’.
  • We feel we are part of a wider whanau of Murihiku, working together for the good of the region and are looking forward to the challenge ahead!

Click here to find out more about each of the forum members.

For more information, email

Useful documents

Regional Forum - Factsheet
Regional Forum - Terms of Reference - December 2018