Ruamahanga Whaitua Committee Elect Chair

  • Published Date 12 May 2014

The election of the first Chairman of the Ruamāhanga Whaitua Committtee (RWC), took place this week at a public meeting held in the Martinborough Town Hall.  Peter Gawith, a third generation Longbush sheep and beef farmer, was elected by fellow committee members.

The committee chose to elect a deputy chair.  Mangaterere Valley resident, Esther Dijkstra, a director of EcoAgriLogic, was elected to this position.  The diverse backgrounds, knowledge and experience of the committee will prove an advantage over the months ahead as environmental, economic, social and cultural factors of the Ruamāhanga River catchment are debated towards developing an integrated land and water management plan.

"It was great to see a few Wairarapa residents at this meeting.  The Ruamāhanga Whaitua Committee is in an intensive information gathering phase and we are very keen to include as many people as possible on the journey," said Peter Gawith, Ruamāhanga Committee Chair. 

"The greater the range of views, concerns and ideas that are put forward now, the more comprehensive the final land and water management proposal will be."

"I am delighted to be working with such a talented, experienced and passionate group of farmers, scientists, recreational water-users, community leaders and - above all - advocates for Wairarapa's water and land."

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Peter Gawith

Peter and his family have maintained an interest in monitoring and mitigating the effects of the weather on their agricultural management practices for nearly one hundred years.  Sustainability has long been a focus and Peter's on-farm work has proved that managing the land sensitively has had a positive influence on the economic bottom line. 

He has used willow and poplar successfully to manage stock through droughts, as well as for moderating soil erosion.  He led a Sustainable Farm Fund research project that identified willow and poplar tannin as an aid to stock digestion of rougher pastures.  Peter has been a contributor to many Wairarapa-based and regional committees.

Esther Dijkstra

Esther Dijkstra is originally from Holland, she now lives in Carterton with her husband and two children. 

Esther has a PhD and Masters in Physical Geography and a good understanding of the opportunities and limitations science provides.  She is a Director and Consultant for EcoAgriLogic, a service provider for sustainable and ecological land-use. Esther has managed national projects in the agricultural sector funded by Sustainable Farming Fund and DairyNZ. She is Mangaterere Valley Restoration Society project coordinator, a Wairarapa Enviroschools facilitator and a trustee on the Trinity Schools Trust board.


Updated April 29, 2022 at 12:02 PM

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