Ted Talks - July 2023

Hear from Kaikōura Water Zone Committee chair Ted Howard about the annual groundwater presentation as well as the importance of community participation and feedback.

Kia ora koutou. We are well into 2023 now, and with that comes the annual groundwater presentation from our groundwater scientist Ben Wilkins who provided an overview for Kaikōura and the wider Waitaha/Canterbury region.

Groundwater presentation

In May, Ben presented the results from the annual groundwater survey and discussed important topics of interest such as groundwater ageing. He also talked us through the groundwater sampling results from last year and advised around the timeframes for groundwater monitoring.

Some key points to note were:

  • Nitrate concentrations in Kaikōura groundwater are generally low.
  • In Kaikōura, E. coli was present in one well however this well is not used for drinking water.
  • Groundwater conditions in Kaikōura can cause manganese and arsenic to occur, which is why well owners should test the water quality from their wells often.
  • High nitrates in groundwater (above drinking water standard) are predominantly in places in Canterbury that are away from alpine rivers.
  • We currently do not see nitrates above the drinking water standards in Kaikōura groundwater.
  • The slightly elevated nitrate levels in Kaikōura were noted as being south of the Kowhai River.

Importantly, we know that farmers are shifting their practices to align with regenerative farming. This helps with increasing soil carbon and water retention and reducing nitrate losses.

At the meeting, we noted some tangible actions which could help in this space. We also think providing more information on groundwater, in relation to soil type and geology, could be beneficial. Ben is taking these ideas back to the groundwater team to discuss and progress. We look forward to seeing what happens next.

Our first youth rep, Maia Kahu

The Kaikōura Water Zone Committee is proud to now have a youth voice at the committee table. This is something that our group has been working towards for some time now, so it is exciting to have Maia Kahu join our committee.

Maia is a year 13 student at Kaikōura High School. She is one of the five head students who share a variety of school responsibilities. She has been a member of Kaikōura Youth Council for six and a half years, including being the chairperson last year.

Maia is a strong voice for rangatahi, and is able to speak confidently and clearly in a group and stand up for what she believes in. We look forward to making the most of the opportunities these new conversations will create. 

Have your say on shaping our region’s future

As we all know, community input is critical in the way we shape our region’s future. What’s our future? It’s a big question, but it’s one that I think our community can help answer.

As a whole, Environment Canterbury has a number of plans to update to meet the current and future expectations of mana whenua, community, and the Government. This means reviewing the rules to manage the impact of human activity on the environment across the region, taking into account and responding to the challenges and opportunities of climate change. 

The first step is a review of the Canterbury Regional Policy Statement (CRPS) and some targeted changes to land and water plans as well as the need to update or develop new plans, such as transport, climate action plans, and operational strategies.

The CRPS sets the direction for how the natural and built environment is managed, including planning for the development of our towns, cities, rural areas and infrastructure - while protecting our environment. 

Because of the overlap across these pieces of work, engagement has been streamlined into themes. The first phase runs until the end of August and explores what we currently know about our environment and includes prompts about what the future might hold for our land, air, water, coast, built environment and in respect to climate change.

I encourage you all to sit in on these upcoming consultation sessions and provide feedback on what matters most to you.

Head to over to Our Future Canterbury to find out more and have your say. You can also come along to our local drop-in event at Donegal House on Monday July 31 from 3-7pm.

Until next time,

Ngā mihi nui,