Informal Workshop Notes

Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Strategy Group Workshop

Held:                            11:28 am, Tuesday 27 October 2020, Nukuteapiapi Meeting Room, Te Arawa Lake Trust, 1194 Haupapa Street, Rotorua

Poū Tākiwaiora

Chairperson:               Sir Toby Curtis (Te Arawa Lakes Trust)

Deputy Chairperson:  Mayor Steve Chadwick (Rotorua Lakes Council)


Present:                       Te Arawa Lakes Trust (TALT):

                                    Roana Bennett; Nuki Nicholson

Rotorua Lakes Council (RLC):

Deputy Mayor David Donaldson

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Toi Moana (BOPRC):

Chairman Doug Leeder; Cr Kevin Winters; Alternate Te Taru White 

Ministry for the Environment (MfE):

Observer Simon Ingham (via Zoom)


In Attendance:            BOPRC: Chris Ingle – General Manager Integrated Catchments; Helen Creagh – Rotorua Catchments Manager; Andy Bruere – Lakes Operations Manager; Greg Corbett – Biosecurity Manager; Hamish Lass – Senior Projects Officer (Marine & Freshwater); Gemma Moleta – Senior Planner (Water Policy); Merinda Pansegrouw – Committee Advisor

RLC: Geoff Williams – Chief Executive; Gina Rangi - Manahautū Māori (Māori Manager)

TALT: Nicki Douglas – Environment Manager; Elva Conroy – Consultant Conroy & Donald Consultants Limited

Other: Dr Ian Kusabs – Researcher/Consultant; Chris Sutton - Rerewhakaaitu Farmer

Apologies:                  Deputy Mayor David Donaldson (RLC); Alternate Rangitihi Pene (TALT)


1.     Introduction

The purpose of the workshop was:

·         To provide an overview on scoping work underway for the Tarawera Collective Impact Framework

·         Provide an update based on engagement feedback received to date

·         To inform members of progress on the Tarawera Lakes Restoration Plan

·         To discuss options for a collective impact/obtain guidance/feedback from members

·         To inform on progress with Tarawera Catchment and Environmental Modelling.


2.     Progressing towards a collective impact for the Tarawera Lakes




Presentation - RTALSG Tarawera Workshop: Objective ID A3658357   

Presented by: Elva Conroy – Planning Consultant for TALT - Conroy and Donald Consultants Limited, TALT Environment Manager Nicki Douglas,  BOPRC Rotorua Catchments Manager Helen Creagh and Lakes Operations Manager Andy Bruere


Key Points: Planning Consultant Elva Conroy

·       Background/context for the Tarawera Lakes System Workshop: Te Arawa Lakes Settlement Act 2006 and the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Strategy Group/Partnership

·       One enduring vision, with three themes, nine focus areas and 11 goals

·       Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme was a collection of projects that formed a connected package of work to deliver on the strategy

·       Projects were led by one or more partners and would have multiple funding streams. Examples were:

o   Tarawera Collective Impact Project – driven by the Lakes Strategy and TALT founding documents Te Tūāpapa and He Mahere Taiao (o ngā Wai o Te Arawa), led by TALT with external funding (Central Government)

o   Tarawera Restoration Plan (with multiple projects) - driven by the Regional Plan, led by BOPRC with funding streams from partner agencies and central Government funding


·       Tarawera Collective Impact Project

o   Why a collective impact was needed

§  The water quality indicators in Lake Tarawera was not improving

§  The landscape (people and nature) was complex and multi-faceted

§  Our communities were taking, or wanted to take action, but required support

o   Highlighted the work by others in the catchment/work underway or planned

§  Tarawera Wastewater Scheme

§  Animal and plant pest control (current and interest in extending)

§  Recreational use (current and interest in expanding)

§  Kōura monitoring

§  Learnings from Rerewhakaaitu farmers

o   Following initial engagement in April/May 2020, local communities highlighted key issues as:

§  Lack of connectivity between care groups/landowners

§  Lack of clarity between roles and responsibilities

§  Lack of knowledge about what the others were doing

§  Every lake and associated community was different

o   Key suggestions received from communities were:

§  Be ground up, not top down – connect people/groups

§  Focus on a few projects and do them well

§  Find projects to connect Māori land trusts, iwi and hapū

§  Build social infrastructure

§  Have a shared plan of action

o   Based on the survey feedback, it was clear that some in the community have never seen the Lakes Strategy:

§  Most respondents agreed with the vision, some wanted amendments

§  Some requested further detail regarding objectives/outcomes

§  Two respondents disagreed with the vision

o   Since there was a mixed level of understanding and experience regarding collective impact, clear messaging was needed so that people understood what it was

o   The question for the Strategy Group to consider: Was the “Strategy Vision” our common agenda?

Key Points - Members:

·       Supported that the “Strategy Vision” needed to be re-communicated with the community

·       Everyone should be included in caring for and securing the future of the lake: ongoing, thorough consultation with the community was therefore critical

·       Supported the “Strategy Vision” but suggested that the “Strategy Vision” be reworded to make it more specific/applicable to Lake Tarawera and its catchment by adding the following words

The lakes of the Rotorua Tarawera Catchment is and their catchments are preserved and protected for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations, while recognising and providing for the traditional relationship of Te Arawa with their ancestral lakes.

Key Points : Planning Consultant Elva Conroy (continued)

·       Needed shared measurements for data, which meant common targets and benchmarks against which to monitor and track progress

o   Survey feedback indicated that people wanted to know more about land-use/biodiversity/residents/culture/landscape

o   The question for the Strategy Group to consider: “How do we decide what we should be measuring and monitoring to know that we were making a tangible difference? Were we measuring the rights things?”

o   This question would be answered/addressed as part of process of ongoing workshops

·       Mutual reinforcement activities

o   Survey feedback on the question “What are the “game changers” that will make the biggest difference to our lakes?” indicated that the focus points were:

§  pest control/land use and water quality improvements/information and education/leadership and support

§  Keep it simple: focus on a few projects and do them really well – establish proof of concept, share learnings/create a beacon so that people want to join/train the next cell and let it build momentumorganically.

Key Points - Members:

·       Needed to know who was doing what – it was all about communication

·       Tamariki should be involved – needed to take it further than only Lynmore schools

·       Local heroes to be used – focus to be on finding champions/beacons.

Key Points : Planning Consultant Elva Conroy (continued)

·       Open and continuous communication – needed to build trust, share learnings and create motivation and momentum

·       The principles of consistency and effectiveness were critical

·       Needed to report regularly on progress towards achieving the strategy

·       Needed to look at existing resourcing/additional resources to help with communication

·       Needed to establish what we needed to communicate

·       Branding for Tarawera also to be considered.

Key Points - Members:

·       Government agencies such as Scion could be included – an option was to look at potentially reviewing Scion’s Statement of Intent to ensure they became a key participant

·       To rethink/reconsider the term “Māori Land Trust”; the key goal to continue to ensure inclusiveness.

Key Points : Planning Consultant Elva Conroy (continued)

·       Backbone support required - needed a team dedicated to orchestrating the work of the group – at a minimum, a project manager, data manager, and facilitator/activator/connector

·       What would a “backbone support” look like for the Tarawera Lakes System?

·       Would take time to identify what would be required

·       Were there opportunities for shared resourcing of partner agencies?

Key Points : Nicki Douglas TALT

·       Referred to TALT’s Deed Funding from MfE (Ministry for the Environment) assisting with the implementation of the Lakes Strategy: the Tarawera Collective Impact Project was one of the funded projects which still had two more years of funding available.

·       Going forward, if supported by the Strategy  Group, the expectation was that Elva Conroy – Consultant Conroy & Donald Consultants Limited, would be the driving force, and continue with leading the development of this work. The next steps would then be securing further funding to develop the work of the programme.

Key Points - Members:

·       Ultimately lakes users were key – they added another level of eyes/ears

·       Migrant communities should be included as they had expressed interest in wanting to be included and to contribute

·       Noted an offer by Nature Conservation to provide expertise - mentoring was crucial

·       Terms of engagement could be applied to other lakes too.

Next steps:

·       Tarawera Collective Impact Project: Members unanimously supported the direction for a collective impact approach to the Tarawera Catchment to be part of the Strategy Group Programme

·       Planning Consultant Elva Conroy’s goal for the next meeting of the Strategy Group would be to obtain an understanding/guidance on what should be planned for 2021.

3.     Update on Tarawera Lakes Restoration Plan Progress


BOPRC Rotorua Catchments Manager Helen Creagh and TALT Environment Manager Nicki Douglas provided an update.


Key Points – Helen Creagh BOPRC:

·       The Tarawera Lakes Restoration Plan had been adopted in 2015 by the RTALSG, after consultation with the community and had incorporated the principles of the Regional Plan.  Included 10 priority actions and 3 contingency actions (engineering solutions, weed & stormwater management)

·       Progress on actions:

o     Action 1 - Wastewater Management

o     Action 2 - Agricultural Land Management (Tarawera)

o     Action 4 - Agricultural Land Management (other lakes) 

o     Action 3 - Control of Nitrogen Fixing Plants

o     Action 5 - Limit on Land Use Change

·       Progress on ongoing actions:

o     Action 6 - Groundwater Modelling

o     Action 7 - Cultural Health Assessment

o     Action 8 - Geothermal Source Investigation

o     Action 9 - Consolidation of Science

o     Action 10 - Keep community informed.

Key Points: Nicki Douglas TALT

·       Action 7 - Cultural Health Assessment

o   In 2018 TALT had identified a Cultural Health Index/tools for iwi/hapū to use across all the lakes, but particularly in the Tarawera catchment

o   Started the process at Tarawera and Ōkataina; however, had established that it was not possible to have one consistent set of tools/approach as iwi/hapū favoured their own Mātauranga

o   Going forward, the approach would be to provide guidance based on previous case studies.

Key Points - Members:

·       Te Mana o te Wai – highlighted the risk of having multiple entities that would want to establish manawhenua status within the catchment – this would be a challenge to tangata whenua

·       Needed to be aware of this - there was not the luxury of time to afford a derailer in the process.



4.     Tarawera Catchment and Environmental Modelling


BOPRC Lakes Operations Manager Andy Bruere provided an update.

Key Points

·       Update on progress with Action 6 - Groundwater Modelling: was a specific project with the focus of establishing if the nutrient reduction targets were on track; focus being on the inner catchment rather than the outer catchment

·       Provided context to the modelling used

·       Interconnectivity of the lakes

·       Land-use impact on Lake Tarawera catchment

·       Lake water quality numerical modelling and scenarios

·       Conclusion

o   TLI (Trophic Level Index) was closer: noted “reference” versus “observed”; gap was fairly small

o   Multiple lines of evidence: should make science parallel to action and  not critical to action

o   Modelling was only a tool to help; could not predict the future – only provided scenario possibilities: very complex; acknowledged uncertainty but should not be paralysed from action

o   Opportunities might be rare: sewage, land use policy, working with land owners – should pursue these as a priority.

Key Points - Members:

·       Inclusion of geothermal activity/impact could be useful; noted that it could however not be influenced

·       Noted the presentation and direction taken with appreciation.

5.      Next Steps


·            Members of the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Strategy Group were invited to provide feedback on the Tarawera Collective Impact Framework to Elva Conroy via electronic mail.


6.     Closing Karakia

A karakia was provided by Sir Toby Curtis.

The workshop concluded at 12:36 pm.