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Forum workshops

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Workshop 22, 8 & 9 June, Te Rau Aroha Marae, Bluff

Regional Forum Chair Fiona Smith said it felt quite emotional to go back to Bluff's Te Rau Aroha Marae last week, where the first workshop was held in 2019.

This last workshop was to finalise the recommendations that will go in the report setting out ways to drastically improve freshwater in Murihiku Southland.

“We were back at Te Rau Aroha Marae for our final get-together, which felt like we’ve come full circle after more than 20 workshops all around the region and online over the past three and a half years,” she said.

The Regional Forum will deliver its report and recommendations to Environment Southland and the Te Ao Marama Inc board in the next few weeks. That report will help with the development of the first plan change to the Southland Water and Land Plan, known as Plan Change Tuatahi.

The Southland Regional Forum is a group of farmers, scientists, business people, students, environmentalists, and mana whenua.

“The 15 members have come together with our different perspectives and experiences, and gone into this process with the best of intentions. And we are now sure that our recommendations will mean a significant step forward to bridging the massive gaps between current water issues and where we should be. We must be able to use our water to drink, swim in, fish and engage in mahinga kai, and for farming and other businesses.

“Forum members have been so generous with their time and professionalism in working together to reach agreement,” she said.

They have been gathering information, hearing from experts, scientists, stakeholders and mana whenua with the challenge of coming up with recommendations for how to improve Southland’s freshwater over the next 25 years.

The big issues impacting freshwater and Te Mana o te Wai (the vital importance of the water) in Southland include: extensive loss of wetlands; the amount of sediment and nutrients in some rivers, lakes & estuaries; risks to human health (from recreation and drinking); issues with quantity of water in some areas affecting the health or hauora of the water; and the inability to use freshwater for mahinga kai purposes.

Included as part of last week’s workshop was a half day with Environment Southland councillors and Te Ao Marama Inc board members discussing the forum’s work and recommendations.

“We’ve been through a really thorough, tough process and it’s fair to say that hard work will continue when we hand the report to Environment Southland and Te Ao Marama Inc. It’s their role to lead the region into a better future with freshwater that will help our communities to thrive.

“This will not be easy and we recognise there are many challenges for our communities. But as one forum member has said – ‘we can’t keep kicking the can down the road.’ If we want our children and grandchildren to have good water, now is the time,” Fiona said.

Forum members are Bernadette Hunt, Cain Duncan, Darren Rewi, David Diprose, Estelle Pera-Leask, Ewen Pirie, Fiona Smith (Chair), Hayden Slee, Kelsi Hayes, Lisa Pearson, Michelle Roberts, Paul Marshall, Phil Morrison (Deputy Chair), Sean Bragg and Vaughan Templeton.

Mahinga kai – refers to the traditional and cultural value of food resources and their ecosystems, as well as the practices involved in producing, procuring, and protecting these resources.

Notes of the workshop can be found here

Workshop 21, 12 & 13 May 2022, Zoom

Key messages:

  • Looking forward to finalising the report now.
  • Pleased at where we’ve got to with people’s input and wordsmithing
  • More confident the report is reflecting collective views.
  • Learn so much from others in the forum all the time.
  • Will be more effective speaking to Council and our community with this collectively-agreed report.
  • We’ve become real whanau and will be a little sad at the end of the project (while appreciating getting time back for other things).
  • Concerned about whether we have the people and capability, plus concerns about the costs to the region. But need to start somewhere.
  • Looking forward to seeing some of these recommendations flow through to actions on the ground.
  • Three years, big piece of work, much done through a global pandemic. Important to acknowledge we’ve persevered.
  • When this gets out into the public domain – it might be something unexpected. It will take a bit of people getting their head around this new system we’ve designed. A fair bit of effort will be needed to communicate how it’s going to work.

Notes of the workshop can be found here

Workshop 20, 12 & 13 April, Zoom

Key messages

  • We are designing a new approach for the way in which Southlanders will engage with freshwater resources in our region.
  • It has been very important to have the strategic oversight and input of mana whenua, with their long term view of kaitiakitanga/guardianship of the land and water front and centre of our thinking. We believe we can achieve community objectives for freshwater by working in partnership with mana whenua.
  • Southlanders recognise there are critical issues with our freshwater and we believe most are keen to get some direction about how they can contribute to improving Te Mana o te Wai.
  • While our approach focuses on a “high trust” model, we are also recommending setting some parameters to ensure our region is able to be monitored for successful improvements against what we want to achieve.
  • We are recommending measures which we recognise may cost significant amounts to some landowners. We will be recommending a robust framework that remains in place to support our journey towards achieving those measures within a generational timeframe of 25 years.
  • While our respect for our communities is always present, our job has been to focus on improving the quality and resilience of our region’s freshwater systems now and in the future.
  • We are now at the stage of finalising our thinking and decisions which will be pulled into our final report that will detail our recommendations, with one more workshop in May 2022.
  • Our completed report of recommendations will go to Environment Southland and Te Ao Marama Inc in June this year.

Notes of the workshop can be found here

Workshop 19, 15 & 16 March, Zoom

Key messages:

  • The Regional Forum are excited to be thinking about how effective wetlands are in helping to work towards Southland’s freshwater challenges.
  • Enjoying past couple of days refining recommendations, teasing things out.
  • Impressed with conversation, pleased with where we’re heading.
  • Examining our ideas from other viewpoints has been very important.
  • Since 2019 we’ve been percolating all sorts of information, and meeting very regularly to discuss and analyse, it does feel like all of that is coming together in a coherent fashion.
  • We’ve been privileged to receive a lot of information that others don’t necessarily get to hear. That has aided our thinking and we hope to use it to clearly articulate how we might achieve the objectives for freshwater.
  • We bring perspectives from the wider community – coming from all walks of life and geographical areas – some of our recommendations will be challenging, and some members of our community will be heartened to hear them.
  • We will need to ensure the community is given a chance to step on to this journey, with good information/wayfinding.

Notes of the workshop can be found here

Workshop 18, 15 & 16 February, Zoom

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Workshop 17, 8 & 9 December 2021, Te Anau

Key messages

  • Input from the groups involved in the Waiau River, and the manner in which they engaged, enabled us to make good, informed decisions about our recommendations on the same day. It was particularly important that the forum heard the voice of a younger generation.
  • We're now moving on from consultation with interest and stakeholder groups to drafting advice. There may still be some sense-checking with individuals and selected stakeholders in the new year.
  • We're really focused on hauora and what it means for our waterways. For us in the regional forum, it means resilience and the ability of the waterway to take a knock and recover, that the waterways are life-sustaining for the ecosystem and for the people who live with the waterway. And we're looking across the region so it's multiple waterways we need to deal with.
  • 2021 has been another challenging year with the likes of Covid-19, and new forum members joining us. I think we can feel very proud of how far we've come.
  • The forum has been well-served by the science advice, the work of our independent facilitator and the excellent support and co-governance advice from Te Ao Marama and Maria Bartlett in particular.

Workshop 16, 11 November 2021, Winton

The aim of this one-day workshop was to give the Forum some extra time to discuss ideas and options - focusing on progressing their thinking on:

  • the structure of the report and the preferred methods
  • specific advice (regulatory and non-regulatory) to Council and TAMI

Read the notes from the workshop here

Workshop 15: 19 & 20 October 2021, Invercargill

Key messages:

  • Thanks to Stewart Bull and Maria Bartlett for their mana whenua perspectives
  • Work to refine some of the mechanics of how we might go about implementing methodologies
  • Scenario testing/modelling influencing our thoughts
  • Assessing the risks in terms of certain types of land, matrix,
  • Made a lot of progress, starting to develop what will be in the report. We are aware of importance of communication with public/wider community
  • It has been hard to articulate our thinking to date. Now, we’re starting to draw some conclusions. Appreciate people would like to know where our work is going. We’ve invested in understanding, our ideas are now starting to coalesce and will become more shareable in upcoming weeks/months.
  • Scenario information had been eagerly anticipated. Chunky set of information to reflect on and analyse is reassuring, appreciate the work undertaken to deliver it.
  • We have gone a long way towards establishing our ideas. You can see we’ve come up with similar ideas each time we sit down.
  • Ingredients and analogy of the cake – now seeing what it’s going to look like and how it will be decorated.
  • Assessing the model of improvement in water quality with expected costs, thinking about ideal timeframes for improvements
  • Took some time to consider unique position of Waiau, looking forward to extending that understanding and conversation in December.
  • The way this team is working together – such a diverse group of people can come together and discuss with honesty and courage things they’re personally connected to. When things get gritty, keep talking, end up laughing. On the whole, cohesive.
  • Disappointed we couldn’t make our scheduled marae visit due to COVID-19.

Read the notes from the workshop here

Workshop 14: 28 & 29 July 2021, Mataura

Key messages from Regional Forum members

  • The Regional Forum appreciated the high quality stakeholder engagement that occurred at this workshop. We met with representations from Fonterra, Ballance Agri-nutrients, Beef + Lamb NZ, Deer Industry NZ, and Fish & Game. The stakeholder’s solutions-focused suggestions were well-received, prompted our thinking, and are being considered by the Regional Forum.
  • We appreciated the opportunity to further explore approaches for our recommendations to Environment Southland and Te Ao Marama. This process demonstrated healthy levels of alignment in thinking across the Regional Forum membership. The Regional Forum will continue to develop concepts, and plan to seek some external feedback on these concepts before they are incorporated into our final recommendations.
  • The Regional Forum encourages people to keep working on good management practices – these are incredibly important in moving towards our goals for freshwater in Southland.
  • We recognise there’s been some good work and reported improvement in intensive winter grazing practices.
  • The Southland Social Assessment report has been really valuable in providing context around any impact our recommendations might have.

Read the notes from the workshop here

Workshop 13: 1 & 2 June 2021, Invercargill

Key messages from Regional Forum members

  • The Regional Forum members have valued the opportunity to engage with stakeholders, and hear their views on the future of Southland’s freshwater.
  • After two years of listening and learning, the Forum is now beginning to pull together thoughts and ideas on a range of solutions to improve freshwater in Southland. We will be shaping this into the bones of the framework for the package of advice for Environment Southland’s Council and the Te Ao Marama Board.
  • While uncertainty remains and the science will continually evolve, we know we have to be solution-focused. Waiting for certainty before taking action isn’t an option.
  • We appreciate that Environment Southland has reflected the Forum’s early thinking from their first report into their Long-term Plan.
  • Due to the Regional Forum’s leadership role in the community, we have a strong sense of the importance of providing independent advice to Council and the Te Ao Marama Board.
  • The Regional Forum members bring different backgrounds and skills and capabilities to the table. In focusing on what we want to achieve for Southland, we are aligned and functioning as one.

Read the notes from the workshop here

Workshop 12: 13 & 14 April 2021, Gore

Key messages from Regional Forum members:

  • We welcomed our new members and we’re excited where this new waka will take us. The Regional Forum has now formed as a cohesive group and we’re looking forward to the mahi going forward.
  • We would like to recognise the contribution of previous forum members and acknowledge and thank them for supporting us this far on the journey.
  • We’re looking forward to new engagement opportunities over the next 18 months. We understand that freshwater management is one of the major challenges facing Southland and recognise we all have a part play.
  • We understand that there are other issues including climate change which will impact on freshwater management and we’re keen to continue to understand how these issues work together as part of the bigger picture.
  • We appreciate the Gore District Council spending time talking with us and look forward to having a similar korero with Invercargill City and Southland District Councils. These conversations help cement the forum’s thinking.
  • We recognise the work and effort of the Kaituitui in sharing science with stakeholders. While the extent of the challenge to be solved has a level of uncertainty around it, a large proportion of it is clear and we know we need to get on with the task. The level of uncertainty is minor compared to the size of the task at hand.
  • We would like to thank Hokonui Runanga for allowing us to hold our workshop there. Their welcome, hospitality and sharing of knowledge was appreciated.

Read the notes from the workshop here

Regional Forum members (17)

The new members joined the original cast at the Gore workshop at Hokonui Runanga in April 2021.

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

Workshop 11: 23 & 24 February 2021, Invercargill

Key messages from Regional Forum members:

  • Good management practices will not be enough in all areas to achieve the improvements we need for water quality.
  • We’re clear that we need to focus on the big stuff, the big actions and methods that are needed to make the significant improvements. We have to assume that everyone in the farming and business sectors are already operating using the expected good management practices.
  • We agree that many of our waterways are in a degraded state and that puts us in an ‘over-allocated’ situation. In other words, we’ve put more nutrients, sediment and other contaminants into our waterways than they can cope with. These are issues we have to address.
  • We had an update from Ngai Tahu representatives, which gave us an idea of their vision for Southland and how to achieve it. Together we welcome their vision and see their suggestions as useful in helping us with our task.
  • It was clear to us that the Ngai Tahu view of the world is not out on a limb. Their ideas resonated with us and encouraged us to think about the next generation.
  • We’re looking forward to welcoming new members onto the forum, to bring new perspectives to our robust conversations.
  • We’re keen to hear more from the community and stakeholders. To meet the challenge, we will need a broad range of solutions brought to the table, and we want to learn from others.

Read the notes from the workshop here

Workshop 10: 8 & 9 December 2020, Te Anau

Key messages from Regional Forum members

  • We appreciate the recent endorsement of draft environmental outcomes by Environment Southland’s Council and the Te Ao Marama Board.
  • We learned more about discharges, and that multiple minor discharges can contribute to a significant impact on our environment.
  • We were able to build on our understanding of contaminant load and what this means for over allocation, and the cumulative effects this has on our rivers and estuaries.
  • We know that there are challenging contaminant load problems that need to be addressed.
  • We appreciate that the impacts of climate change may further compound the challenge of effectively managing regional freshwater outcomes, with increasing frequency, size and duration of severe weather events predicted.
  • We understand that all discharge sources, from rural, urban and industrial areas, will need to be considered when forming our advice to council and Te Ao Marama board.
  • We gained a deeper understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi, and would value learning more in this area.
  • We found that the Ngāi Tahu ki Murihiku perspective on water helped to reaffirm its importance in relation to how tangata whenua manage water for sustainability and kaitiakitanga (caretakers).
  • We noted opportunities for growth through partnerships in the future management of water.
  • We thank the Southland Conservation Board for co-hosting the public session with us. It was a great opportunity to partner with a group working in a similar area and understand more about how the two could share ideas in the future.
  • We are now well placed to further explore what an integrated catchment management structure across the region might look like. We will consider this in more detail and explore how it could work with input from community members and groups on collective actions.

Read the notes from the workshop here

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

Workshop nine: 20 & 21 October 2020, Riversdale

Key messages from Regional Forum members

  • We appreciate all the work that has been done in developing the modelling and understanding the science. We know the work is complex and understand why it has taken time to get to where we are now. We now feel that the muddy waters are now less muddy and there is a pathway forward.
  • The scenario testing part of the workshop helped us understand how different methods could be used and how we’ll be able to model the impacts of using these methods. It’s challenging but we are now able to see what the work ahead will hold, and we know the value of this Kaupapa going forward.
  • We are mindful that as we undertake further modelling, we will see different impacts across the region, and we take these things very seriously. We understand the value of talking with communities about this as we move going forward through the advice development process.
  • We are looking forward to public feedback on our draft assessment criteria as these questions will help us focus our thinking and allow us to ask ourselves important questions as we progress through the options available.
  • We know there will be increasing interest in what we’re doing and we’re looking at how we can make sure we’re able to connect with people as we progress through the next 18 months.

Read the notes from the workshop here

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

Workshop eight: 28 & 29 July 2020, Riverton

This workshop was a great opportunity for the forum to reconnect as they haven’t been able to meet face-to-face since February.

Key messages from the forum:

  • Visiting Riverton gave us with the chance to learn more about the unique Aparima Community and Environment project and hear from some of the passionate farmers involved. It was great to see the positive and proactive steps these farmers are taking to improve their practice and ultimately water quality in the catchment.
  • We were also able to hear from around 60 Aparima residents at the public session which focused on destinations and pathways. Forum members will be keen to hear about the changes participants thought were necessary to deliver on the community’s aspirations for water, and what initiatives or requirements will make the difference.
  • As part of the workshop, we learned more about the policy context and regional setting for our work and the recommendations we’re going to be making.
  • We discussed how we would assess our recommendations – ensuring they were fair, equitable as well as effective and efficient. We look forward to getting feedback on these assessment criteria in the next couple of months.
  • We learned more about uncertainty – we are all working in and making decisions to protect our future, even with so much uncertainty. We discussed the cost associated with taking or not taking action because of the uncertain times we find ourselves in.
  • From our work so far and what we’re hearing from our communities, we know that we ultimately all want the same thing. One of our group likened it to being in the same storm, but on different boats. We all want to get through the storm but our pathways might be slightly different.
  • We know there’s a lot of interest in what we’re doing. We’re looking at ways to broaden our engagement over the next few months – and in addition there will be specific times when we need your feedback.

Read the notes from the workshop here

Workshop seven: 25 & 26 February 2020, Murihiku Marae

Throughout the two day workshop, the forum members spent time deepening their understanding and discussing the iwi values for water. They learned that the aspirations of the wider community align well with those of the people of Ngai Tahi ki Murihiku. They are considering all they have seen and heard over the last 10-12 months and are finalising their first package of advice to Council shortly [delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions].

Key messages from the forum:

  • At this workshop, we spent time understanding and discussing iwi values for water.
  • We would like to extend a special mihi to the kaumatua rangatira who welcomed us to Murihiku Marae and shared their wisdom throughout the two days, and especially to Trent (11 years old) for joining the runaka panel discussion and shared his perspective.
  • At the marae we learned about the strong and enduring connection iwi have to their whenua and wai, which emphasised the importance that is placed on water. We also understand that water is part of all of our whakapapa. We see it in our place names around Southland.
  • Over the two days it became very clear that the aspirations of our community align well with those aspirations from Ngāi Tahu ki Murihiku.
  • We developed a deeper understanding of hauora, te mana o te wai, mahinga kai and ki uta ki tai. We explored the concept of a ‘korowai’ as a protection for the wai. The concept provided us with a way of recognising that each area or each catchment is unique and has its own mana.
  • We appreciate the sharing of intergenerational knowledge, not just on the marae but also on our visit to Waituna. There we saw some key actions, including the constructed wetland trial, and learned more about the barriers and drivers of change from the perspective of various Waituna partners.
  • We take on-board the different perspectives we’ve heard over the course of the last 10 months and understand that our environment is precious for many reasons, and that we all want to protect it for future generations.
  • For the Regional Forum, the next step is to provide a report to Council and Te Ao Marama board members at the end of Phase Two. We’ve been reflecting on everything we’ve seen and heard, so this report will encompass our reflections on the barriers and drivers of change and the challenge ahead, and include some recommendations focused on getting action happening now to improve our water and help inform the decisions ahead, for us and the community.

Click here to read the record of the workshop

> Check out the highlights video of the workshop here:

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

Workshop Six: 19 & 20 November 2019, Winton

Forum members were presented with the work from the iwi values workstream, which included a literature review and kanohi a kanohi (face-to-face) interviews with iwi from across Southland. They continued to learn about and discuss issues with Southland’s water quality and quantity and delver further into the detail around the draft freshwater objectives. The forum members are looking towards the end of Phase Two when they will put their first package of advice to Council and Te Ao Marama board members on potential methods to improve water quality.

Key messages from the forum:

  • We thank those that have been able to come along to the public sessions and talk to us about their values, concerns and vision for their river.
  • We’ve started to articulate this into a vision and we’re keen to check that back with the community in the new year.
  • A greater understanding of Te Mana o te Wai and our iwi community’s values is emerging.
  • We want our advice to council to be focused on practical actions that will support all the good work that is underway in our community to get the results in improving water quality that we all want.
  • We know that solutions can’t be focused only on regulation.
  • We are aware of particular challenges in different areas, but recognise that the whole catchment is going to need to make changes to see improvements from mountains to the sea.
  • We know maintaining and improving water quality and quantity will be a challenge and it will take time to achieve the community’s vision.
  • Collaboration and partnerships will be important to achieve the change that’s needed.
  • We’ve had some insight into the technical information that will guide our work to achieve the communities’ aspirations for water and look forward to sharing this with you in the New Year.

> Click here to read the record of the workshop

> Check out the highlights video of the workshop here:

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

Workshop Five: 19 & 20 September 2019, Tuatapere

With phase one now complete, Regional Forum members moved into phase two of their work in Tuatapere this month. Throughout the two day workshop, the group began to hear the results of the Share Your Wai campaign, which collected community values for water from people across Southland. They also started to learn more about the National Policy Statement and the National Objectives Framework – and how this applies to their work in providing advice to Environment Southland’s council. They received their first look at the draft freshwater objectives package being developed for Southland. They spent time discussing national bottom lines and what these look like for Southland. Forum members also spent some time workshopping the barriers and drivers to change on-the-ground, and had an opportunity to see the Waiau River and some of the areas of concern from the water. The forum also agreed to present advice to Council on the Government’s Essential Freshwater Package for them to consider as part of the Council’s process of developing a submission on the proposal.

Key messages from the forum:

  • Tuatapere was a great place for us to understand community values. We heard first-hand just how important the river is to their community.
  • The well-supported public session provided us with authentic and emotional feedback on the values that are held for the Waiau and really allowed us to connect to the community values we had read about earlier in the day.
  • As part of understanding the communities values, we are keen to explore and understand the iwi perspectives on freshwater which we will receive in November.
  • Local community efforts we heard about were inspirational. Many groups and communities are focusing their efforts and looking after their own patch.
  • We expect that the same passion is likely to run deep in other catchments across the region, and we look forward to hearing more of the communities values for water at our next workshop in Winton in November.
  • We were lucky enough to spend time down on the river, building our understanding of a whole river system and seeing first hand some of the concerns we were told about by members of the community.
  • Following a briefing and discussion on the Government’s Essential Freshwater package, we understand just how important our role is for achieving the communities aspirations for freshwater.
  • Having spent the first four workshops getting to know each other, learning about the region and what our role is, we are excited to move into phase two and really get stuck into our work. We will produce our first report for Council at the end of Phase Two in the first quarter of 2020.

> Click here to read the record of the workshop

> Check out the highlights video of the workshop here:

Workshop Four: 25 & 26 July 2019, Invercargill

The Regional Forum has now completed Phase One of their work programme with the fourth workshop held in Invercargill on Thursday and Friday last week.

It was a successful workshop where they heard more from a range of sectors, including volunteer groups like Rotary, Wise Society and the New River Estuary Forum, the Invercargill City Council assets and wastewater treatment staff, Public Health South, Great South and local iwi. They also improved their knowledge of estuaries, Matauranga Maori, and the physiographics of Southland. They also continued to build on their knowledge of the proposed Southland Water and Land Plan and the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management – understanding more about the context within which they will make their recommendations.

Many thanks to those of you who attended – it was much appreciated by the Regional Forum members and members of the public.

> Check out the highlights video of the workshop

The forum have the following key messages:

  • We’re really excited to have completed the first phase of our Regional Forum journey. The first four workshops were designed to bring us together, get to know each other and help build up our understanding of the region.
  • We have been building a good, strong foundation and we are ready for Phase Two. We’re looking forward to continuing to engage with you - our communities, learning more about the values for freshwater that have been gathered over the last few months, and getting into the discussion around objectives.
  • The diverse range of speakers we’ve heard from over the last few months have enlightened, challenged and informed our different perspectives. We have been both heartened and alarmed at times, and we are aware of the urgency needed to support our community to ensure Southland’s environment is sustainable for our future generations.
  • We were pleased to announce Fiona Smith and Phil Morrison as chair and deputy chair of the Regional Forum.
  • Thank you to those that could come along to the public session, and a special thank you to all the speakers who have taken the time to come along to work with us in phase one of our journey.
  • Our workshops through Phase Two will continue to include a public session, and we hope you will come along and talk with us. The next round of public sessions will focus more on Regional Forum members hearing more from you, understanding your concerns and challenges.

Workshop Three: 20 & 21 June 2019, Te Anau

The third workshop was held in Te Anau, where forum members continued to build their knowledge of the Southland environment and the policy space they are working in. They also got a chance to hear from a number of groups and agencies including the Department of Conservation, Real Journeys, Destination Fiordland, Guardians of the Lake and the Southland District Council. The forum members heard from Dean Whaanga, Te Ao Marama, who explained Te Mana o te Wai and what it means to iwi and how the forum need to consider it as part of their role. Along with representatives from DairyNZ and the NZ Deer Farmers Association, visits to a local deer farm and a dairy grazing operation allowed the forum members to see some of the challenges faced by farmers over winter, how they are adopting good management practices in a practical setting and the additional steps they are taking to improve their farm and the environment.

> Check out the short highlights video from the workshop

> View all the papers for this workshop here

The key takeout messages from the group were:

  • We have just about completed the first phase of our journey – getting to know each other and learning/sharing knowledge. At our next meeting in Invercargill we will announce the chair of our group and begin looking ahead to our work understanding the community’s values and objectives for freshwater.
  • We’ve heard from many different groups and agencies, and we loved hearing from the locals in Te Anau and learning their stories.
  • We recognise that we need to have an integrated perspective across the system – from mountains to the sea (ki uta ki tai). To date we have focused on the top of the catchments, and we’re looking forward to learning more about our estuaries.
  • There is a great depth of knowledge at this table. We know that, moving forward, we need to be prepared to listen and be open to all ideas.
  • The different industries and sectors we’ve learned from so far have all gone through change, and with the changes coming from the government, we expect continued change for us in our role on the forum, and for our communities.
  • Every industry in Southland has issues with water quality. We are seeing and want to see more ownership of the issues to water quality issues.
  • We appreciate the time people are taking to come and talk to us to share their knowledge, and to those that have welcomed us onto their farms and businesses. We have learned a lot which has put us in good stead for the work we have ahead of us.

Workshop Two: 9 & 10 May 2019, Gore

During the second workshop in Gore, forum members had an opportunity to meet with members of the Environment Southland monitoring team and see how they carry out water quality and quantity monitoring at the Mataura River at Gore’s monitoring site. On day two, the forum members visited farms in the Knapdale and Wyndham areas and met with local runaka representatives on the banks of the Mataura River at Mataura to learn more about the mātaitai and the history of the area. A public session was also held, where Wyndham angler Alan Leitch and Environment Southland councillor Maurice Rodway presented on the history of the Mataura Conservation Order. Doyle Richardson from Alliance spoke about their business and the environmental challenges they face looking to the future.

> Check out the short highlights video from the workshop

> View all the papers for this workshop here

The key takeout messages from the group were:

  • Technology and innovation continues to drive change – We developed a timeline of key historical events that shaped Southland’s economy, communities and environment. We recognise that technology and innovation will play an important part in the changes to come in Southland’s future.
  • Concern about the impact we’ve all had on the environment – We are concerned at the change that has occurred in our environment, and are keen to look to the future and help communities and industries understand and make improvements that benefit us all.
  • Coming to grips with the complexity – We are starting to build a picture of the complexity of Southland’s environment through field trips, speakers and presentations. Southland’s landscape, geology, waterways and communities were covered, as well as the regulatory environment. This was done with a particular focus on the Mataura catchment.
  • Talking to people on the ground is important – While spending time understanding the theory is important, we all agreed that there’s nothing quite like seeing action ‘on-the-ground’, talking with industry reps, local community members and farmers really helped us to understand the challenging issues and complex decisions that need to be made.
  • There’s a high level of interest in what we’re doing – Thanks to everyone who came along to the public session on Friday during the workshop. Your interest in what we are doing and your contribution to the conversation is so important.

Workshop One: 4 & 5 April 2019, Te Rau Aroha Marae

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

> View all the papers for this workshop here

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