Building an integrated 'hauora-led' catchment management system
By Fiona Smith, Chair of the Southland Regional Forum
One of the Southland Regional Forum’s important recommendations focuses on hauora-led integrated catchment management for Murihiku Southland.
The Regional Forum is a communitybased group set up in 2019 to provide recommendations to Environment Southland and Te Ao Marama Inc about how to meet community values and aspirations for freshwater by 2045.
Integrated catchment management is an approach that involves all landowners in a river catchment working together to achieve the best outcomes for the environment.
The aim of setting up overarching Hauora Catchment Plans (plans to focus on the health of each river catchment) is to establish a type of operating manual for each area.
And one of the ways of achieving improvements to freshwater at a more local level is to ensure all landowners have environmental plans (i.e. Farm Environmental Management Plans for farming operations) to reflect and align with the expectations and requirements of catchment, or if necessary, sub-catchment Hauora Plans.
Co-governance of hauora planning and management The Southland Regional Forum will be suggesting a co-governance arrangement between Environment Southland and Ngāi Tahu ki Murihiku (as mana whenua) be established for each freshwater management unit, reflecting an authentic commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi principle of partnership.
What we’ve discovered as we have explored Ngāi Tahu and Southland community values and the government wishes for freshwater, is that the desired outcomes are the same.
We all want to make sure we have good quality and enough freshwater available for future generations to thrive.
There’s already a strong relationship between Ngāi Tahu and Environment Southland and this would be enhanced through a co-governance model designed in Murihiku Southland for Murihiku Southland.
The report with recommendations will be received by Environment Southland council and Te Ao Marama Inc board members in the next few weeks.