Ruamāhanga Whaitua Committee Look Ahead
The Ruamāhanga Whaitua Committee (RWC) met for their final session of 2016 last week. They are taking a well-earned break but are already anticipating reaching a significant milestone towards a local land and water management plan over the next six months - the presentation of this Ruamahanga Whaitua Implementation Programme (RWIP) to the wider community for discussion.
This year has seen the RWC, a group of community, iwi, local and regional council representatives, work through a significant amount of research, community views, and a raft of Ruamāhanga River catchment data and information.
"Initially we looked to the Ruamāhanga River community to understand their views and it was clear from the outset that they value our land and water highly. It has been a privilege to hear so much personal history and opinion, stories and ideas, and concerns for the future of our land and water," says Peter Gawith Ruamāhanga Whaitua Committee chair.
"We have deepened our understanding of community aspirations and how people want to achieve them. There is widespread understanding that our agricultural economy and ecology must co-exist and find a way to balance competing interests in the long-term."
The committee has worked alongside a body of environmental, economic and social scientists to develop a picture of the Ruamāhanga whaitua called a catchment model. This work to develop the model has been a focus for committee and community discussion. The two streams of work, community values and catchment modelling, will underpin the land and water management options.
"We are at an extremely exciting point. After an extensive amount of work we have developed options that will be tested to understand their potential impacts on the Ruamāhanga River catchment. There will be a number of ways these management options can be implemented and that is another exciting platform for community-wide discussion that will inform our decision making,' says Gawith.
"I am really looking forward to progressing to the next part of our work in the first half of 2017 - developing our recommendations for the future of land and water management with the wider community."
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