Six months of learning for Kaikōura’s new resource management/incident response officer

Garry Husband has been Kaikōura’s resource management/incident response officer (RMO/IRO) for just over six months. He shares his highlights and challenges, along with what he’s looking forward to now that he’s settled into the role.

Early engagement supports good outcomes 

Garry Husband, our Kaikōura resource management officer

Garry Husband, our Kaikōura resource management officer

COVID-19 changed the scope of things when I started in January, but I was lucky to get great support from several people which made learning the job much easier. Since then, it’s been all about getting out and about in the community, building rapport with people and connecting with mana whenua. I now have a monthly hui with them, which is awesome.

The job’s all about building connections, so everyone knows they can always get in touch when they want advice or foresee an issue. We’re big on being proactive – we’d rather give people inormation and resources to meet the rules first, and then hopefully it means there should be less compliance work down the line.

Highlights and challenges

I work one day a week for the Kaikōura District Council and the rest for Environment Canterbury and I really enjoy the mix of both. The work is similar, as I’m helping with compliance at the district council as well.

I’ve loved getting to meet new people and in turn, learning lots of new skills. I enjoy the challenges that come from learning something new. My colleagues are great also – they’re all friendly and helpful.

COVID-19 has probably been the biggest challenge. It’s changed a lot of things, but I guess it’s all about prioritising work and having a good plan. My colleagues have been great and helped me heaps, which I’m thankful for.

Looking ahead – six-month plan 

We’re forming good relationships with the community and mana whenua, so it’s all about cementing those. We aren’t always going to agree but being able to discuss openly our different opinions really helps. From an RMO perspective, I guess it’s just about keeping that open dialogue with the community about the environment, why it’s important to do things certain ways, and what rules and regulations might be applicable. If people understand the reason certain rules and regulations are in place, it helps them make more environmentally friendly decisions.

Final comments 

I want to highlight that it’s awesome we’ve got an RMO/IRO positioned locally in Kaikōura. It’s a valuable asset for the community and will hopefully help people make better environmental decisions.

I am always happy to be contacted and to answer your questions or talk through ideas with you. Don’t hesitate to reach out - 027 225 9912.

A word from Kaikōura zone delivery lead Kevin Heays 

Garry’s position as a permanently based Kaikōura RMO/IRO is an asset to what we do as a team here at our Kaikōura office.

It not only means that enquiries and issues etc around rules and regulations can be addressed early, but also that compliance problems in this zone/takiwā can be dealt with from within the zone/takiwā.

Our compliance officer Garry has a strong mandate to address issues according to Environment Canterbury processes from education to enforcement. It’s always best to contact him in the first instance if things need clarifying - I highly recommend it!

Header image from Heath Melville