Officials visit


Andy Spanton introducing the group to the WTW plantings on Quaifes Road.

Andy Spanton introducing the group to the WTW plantings on Quaifes Road.

A visit to the Selwyn-Waihora Catchment in early March, has given Government officials a first-hand view of the water conservation work being carried out by Ngāi Tahu and Environment Canterbury.


Environment Canterbury’s Director of Resource Management and Whakaora Te Waihora Joint Officials and Steering Group member, Kim Drummond, stressed the importance of the visit.


“It’s very important to bring government officials out into our world to show them that the key principles of the Ngāi Tahu philosophy, Ki uta ki tai – from the mountains to the sea, is coming to life. The Selwyn-Waihora Catchment is just the place to do that,” he says.


“We took them from Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere at the bottom of the catchment, to show them the work that is being done around lake restoration; and then to the top end of the catchment around Lake Coleridge, which is a key storage area for alpine water.”


Mandy Home from NIWA (left), discusses the macrophyte restoration project at Taumutu.

Mandy Home from NIWA (in red), discusses the macrophyte restoration project at Taumutu.

Officials from the Ministry for the Environment (MfE), the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), were given an in-depth presentation on how Environment Canterbury and Ngāi Tahu are working together to improve the mauri of waterways within the catchment.


“We are doing a lot of work within the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS), at the top of the catchment and Whakaora Te Waihora demonstrates the intense partnership at the bottom of the catchment,” Kim Drummond says.


“This was an ideal opportunity for them to see first-hand, how their funding is being applied and how it’s contributing to both development and restoration within the catchment.”


Around fifteen officials took part in the two-day familiarisation event, which included informative presentations from Whakaora Te Waihora programme leaders, including Mandy Home from NIWA, planting programme Manager, Andrew Spanton, Terrianna Smith from Ngāti Moki Marae, Taumutu and Adrienne Lomax from the Waihora Ellesmere Trust.


Adrienne Lomax from WET talking to the group at Fisherman's Point.

Adrienne Lomax from WET talking to the group at Fisherman’s Point.

According to Whakaora Te Waihora Programme Implementation manager, David Murphy, interacting with people working in the field, was a key factor in the officials’ positive response.


“Hearing from people who have ownership of the work and its history, was an eye-opener for many of the visitors I think; and they were certainly impressed by the degree of connectedness in the Ngai Tahu-Environment Canterbury partnership,” he says.


“They seemed to be deeply taken by the degree of sophistication and cohesion in how collaborative partnerships are unfolding in Canterbury. That was beautifully articulated by Terrianna Smith, who is also chair of the Te Waihora Management Board, who set the scene with her passion for Te Waihora and the importance of Whakaora Te Waihora in the lake’s restoration and management.


“The key value of the event for me, was the chance to show MfE, as one of our key funders, what is happening on the ground – not only visually but from some of our stakeholders. It was a wonderful opportunity to talk about Whakaora Te Waihora as part of the much bigger Canterbury water picture,” he says.


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