Reporting back

Lifting engagement

Date: 26 July 2022
Reporting Frequency: Annually
Category: Regional and Strategic Leadership


Increase in residents’ understanding of Environment Canterbury’s role.


In a community survey of 500 random people, 92% responded that they had heard of Environment Canterbury. 68% of respondents considered it important to know what we are doing, but only 34% were aware they could have a say in the work we do. Our target in 2022 was for 45% awareness, so 34% was 75% of this goal.

About this goal

A benchmarking exercise was conducted in 2018, with community surveys conducted annually to track awareness and understanding levels of Canterbury residents. This was conducted once again in 2022, with the goal to measure the increase of community awareness of their ability to have a say in our work. The target for this goal in 2022 was 45% (which was the measurement from the previous survey).

Survey topics included:

  • Awareness of Environment Canterbury, what it does and what services it provides
  • The overall sense of Environment Canterbury's performance
  • Awareness of the ability to have a say in Council matters, any such historical involvement in this regard, and the willingness to do so. 
  • Communication and engagement – how informed the public feel regarding Council activity and how they hear about it.

The 2022 research found that 34% were aware they could have a say in our work, and of those, 27% had done so in the past.

In terms of our ability to manage the environment, the highest number of participants were positive about our ability to respond to natural hazard emergencies (55%), and manage regional parks (54%). Perceptions of our ability to manage air quality improved from 40% in 2020, to 49% in 2022, and for freshwater management from 27% in 2020 to 40% in 2022. The less positive perception was our ability to manage resource consents for farmers (26%).

Environment Canterbury’s work in both air quality and water quality is ongoing. It is promising to see an increased awareness in the community around these important issues. Air quality has been a real focus of our awareness-raising work in the community in recent years. See the results around the improvement in air quality.

Despite only 34% of residents being aware they can have a say, 68% of respondents consider it important to know personally about the work we are doing and 69% responded that they’d like to hear more.

In contrast, 56% of respondents agreed that they trust us to do our job without their input.

Why does it matter?

We want to ensure that residents are engaged and enabled to play an active part in shaping Canterbury’s future. We measure this through the level of community understanding of the work of Environment Canterbury and regional issues.

What's being done?

The results help us when developing targeted communications content in matters requiring public consultation. They also help us with ongoing work to improve community understanding and engagement more broadly, including around the strategic priorities for the region and the opportunities for public participation.

This year we launched Te Kōrari – our People's Panel. Te Kōrari offers more opportunities for community participation, by way of short online surveys. Anyone can sign up to Te Kōrari to receive our surveys, which will be used to gain a ‘temperature check’ from the community on a range of topics and issues.

Signing up only takes a couple of minutes. Visit and create a user account and make sure you tick ‘yes’ to sign up to the panel.

Find out more

Read about our progress on air quality and water quality.

Find out how ratepayer funding supports this work with our Rates Tool.


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