Strategy process, scope and objectives

Over the next year – and with multiple opportunities for input from the community and stakeholders – the Our Waitarakao Washdyke Lagoon Catchment strategy will be created for the whole catchment and will outline the actions needed to ensure a healthy future for this area.

The vision of the strategy is: to restore the mauri (health/lifeforce) of Waitarakao for everyone.

Our Waitarakao is guided by both a Working Group and Steering Group, made up of key staff and representatives from partner organisations.

Collectively, we have agreed the process and scope of the strategy, and also come up with proposed objectives to achieve the vision.

Strategy process

Strategy scope

We want to work with the community to identify suitable and realistic options for restoring the health of the lagoon, at the same time as planning for change. The strategy will deliver both short and longer-term options to proactively address issues impacting the catchment and anticipate future actions.

There are policies and legislation already in place for Waitarakao Washdyke that you may be aware of - such as Environment Canterbury’s Land & Water Regional Plan, Timaru District Council bylaws, the Wildlife Act 1953, and Mātaitai Reserve bylaws, to name just a few. Our Waitarakao Washdyke Lagoon Catchment Strategy will consider existing legislation and link in with other relevant plans being developed - to identify what else is needed to ensure a better future for the lagoon.

Once the strategy is created and approved, it will be implemented into a non-statutory plan, with functional stages, actions, and requirements for future funding. Information gathered as part of the Our Waitarakao strategy will help inform future local and regional planning processes.

Our Waitarakao will be:

  • an opportunity to carefully consider many issues including natural hazards and climate change adaption, mahika kai/resource gathering, water quality, biodiversity and wildlife habitat, ecosystem health, land use, access and education
  • for the whole catchment including the lagoon, nearby coastal flats, farmland and streams
  • driven by a partnership between Department of Conservation, Environment Canterbury, Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua and Timaru District Council, with representation from the Orari Temuka Opihi Water Zone Committee on the Working Group
  • a process where all members of the community are given opportunity to contribute ideas and feedback across multiple phases of engagement
  • about planning for the future but does not include implementation. It will form the basis of a subsequently-developed implementation plan
  • a non-statutory document, but some of the options and outcomes are likely to assist partner agencies to meet statutory requirements

Proposed objectives

Here are proposed objectives for Our Waitarakao Washdyke Lagoon Catchment. These may be refined to reflect community feedback, before being confirmed later this year.

- Enable customary harvest of food/resources that were traditionally gathered from the area in and out of the water. Acknowledging and improving access rights for the purpose of mahika kai.

- Ecological revitalisation or restoration to achieve a thriving, healthy, functioning ecosystem.

- Proactive identification of current and future climate events and hazards. And specifically plan how we will adapt to coastal hazards to achieve the other objectives of the strategy.

- Advocate that new and adapted infrastructure is determined by climate change with mauri (health and lifeforce) of Waitarakao at its forefront.

- Plan for the management of freshwater flooding that enters this catchment for the benefit of the mauri of Waitarakao and the values of this strategy, as well as for the protection of people and property.

- Understand how the hydrology/water balance of the whole catchmentimpacts our ability to achieve the values and objectives of this strategy. Where necessary action change to achieve objectives.

- Enhance community understanding and awareness of the Waitarakao Washdyke environment, enabling all our community to interact with the catchment through promotion, learning opportunities and appropriate physical access.  

You can give feedback on these proposed objectives by taking our survey.

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