Banks Peninsula 2020 wrap-up

Hear from Banks Peninsula Water Zone Committee Chair Benita Wakefield as she wraps up for 2020.

It is that time of year again! Once again, the last 12 months have flown by and I cannot believe it is already December.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused major disruption and required us to all adapt to a new normal. Our whānau, community and the wider region pulled together to support those more vulnerable, a testimony to the strength, resilience, and courage of our community.

The Zone Committee was especially delighted to be the first to co-opt a youth member. Erana Riddell’s appointment set a precedent, and we are pleased that other zone committees are now empowering rangatahi/youth to take action to address water challenges.

Zone Committee meetings

Our monthly Zone Committee meetings continued to move around the zone, and they have been well attended by community members who have had open and frank discussions on issues that are important to them.

In the coming months and years, the Committee will continue to work on improving the mauri, life capacity, and health of our waterways, Wairewa ki roto, and our springs and streams which are home to mahinga kai, indigenous species, fauna, flora, and important habitats.

We have wrapped up meetings for 2020 but will be back in February, hopefully feeling refreshed. Find out when the next Zone Committee meeting is held.

If you have ideas or topics you are interested in raising with us next year, do get in touch – we are always looking for new local topics to discuss.

Our achievements

In the meantime, check out what we have been up to this year.

Biodiversity boost

More than $100,000 of Immediate Steps biodiversity funding (IMS) was allocated to four community-led projects to help people and groups protect and enhance their local environment.

Together, the projects will protect native bush, streams, and gullies; and enhance native species and their habitat, while improving water quality in the zone. The Christchurch City Council (CCC) Biodiversity Fund also contributed more than $35,000 to two of the projects.

Conservation

In June we had a presentation on Te Ahu Pātaki – a plan to create a conservation park in the upper Te Wharau catchment basin and part of Te Waiake catchment.

Members of the Rod Donald Trust asked for our endorsement and a letter of support – something we were more than happy to provide.

It’s great to see that the project is progressing well, with landowners in the area getting behind the plan.

Climate change

In July we discussed climate change – something that is often at the front of our minds in Banks Peninsula.

We received presentations from CCC about their approach to developing a climate change strategy and an overview of risk assessment for potential climate change impacts on Banks Peninsula.

The Committee agreed its role is to share local knowledge with CCC and Environment Canterbury on the freshwater risks posed by climate change and recommend potential methods for mitigating them.

Keep an eye out for updates on CCC’s website.

Strategy, planning and collaboration

District and Regional planning: The Committee has provided feedback to the proposed regional zone committee terms of reference, and Environment Canterbury’s strategic direction and Long-Term Plan, and CCC’s Long-Term Plan.

Soil mapping: We also supported the extension of soil mapping to be carried out through the rest of the peninsula, which will be useful for the community. The project will take three years by Environment Canterbury and Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research utilising Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Environment Canterbury Science funding. Data from this project will be accessible freely online.

Wastewater and fish passage

September’s meeting in Wainui was a real highlight for the committee. It was great to see how passionate the community members who came along to the meeting were about their local waterways.

Committee member Garrick Thorn’s column was a great summary of the meeting which focused on the findings of some summer 2019-20 research by the Waterways Centre for Freshwater Management and the University of Canterbury.

The presentation covered a project on Wainui Stream water quality and onsite wastewater management systems, which was carried out by sampling the stream and surveying residents during peak summer holiday season.

As a result of the research and discussion at the meeting, the committee made some recommendations to CCC and will be working with staff to raise awareness, support and advise landowners in Wainui about effective on-site wastewater management systems.

Community collaboration

October's meeting at Rāpaki Marae was fantastic, with so many great individuals and organisations working in the freshwater space across the peninsula coming together to share their thoughts, ideas and plans with us.
EOS Ecology, Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour, the University of Canterbury students, Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust, Rāpaki Marae, and community members all shared their ideas and identified ways of working collaboratively in the future.

The Committee is looking forward to seeing how we can continue this kōrero into the future, strengthening our relationships with the community and continuing to have open and frank conversations about the future of freshwater on Banks Peninsula.

October also saw a workshop held for farmers about incorporating carbon into their farm business at Duvauchelle Community Hall. The Committee helped develop the idea for an event after some feedback from the farming community regarding the topic.

The event was held by Beef & Lamb NZ and Environment Canterbury, with around 30 people in attendance. Participants raised many questions that require individualised advice for each property. We look forward to seeing how this topic progresses across the peninsula.

Na,

Benita.