Your water zone committee

The Ashburton water zone committee is a joint committee of Ashburton District Council and Environment Canterbury.

The committee's role is to work with the community to develop actions and tactics to deliver on the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.

It recommends these actions and tactics to various agencies for implementation.

View members

Community members
Bill Thomas (Chair)

Bill Thomas is a farmer in the lower Hinds. His family has farmed the historic Longbeach Estate for more than 150 years.

The farm is a mixed sheep, beef, dairy grazing and arable operation which also includes a self-contained dairy unit.

The estate has a commercial function centre; hosting events such as weddings, business and sports events. William is a member of the Eiffelton Irrigation Scheme and has 17 years’ experience as a commercial director, including directorship of PGG Wrightson Ltd.

He has also served on two school Boards of Trustees.

Chris Allen (Deputy Chair)

Chris Allen farms beside Taylors Stream and sits on Federated Farmers National Board with responsibility for RMA, Water and Environment.

Chris is currently Deputy Chair of the Ashburton Zone Committee.

Adi Avnit 

Adi Avnit resides in Ashburton and is the coordinator for the Hakatere Multi Cultural Council.  He has experience engaging with community groups, especially migrants and with managing projects.

Angela Cushnie

Angela Cushnie owns a communications business and a lifestyle property at Eiffelton.  She is a member of many local organisations and was a founding member and Trustee of the Kanuka Mid-Canterbury Regeneration Trust.

Sidinei Teixeira

Sidinei Teixeira is Head of Science at Mt Hutt College (Methven) and is currently enrolled in Master of Water Resource Management with Lincoln University.

Clare Buchanan

Clare Buchanan is Head of Environment and Innovation for an innovative local farming business which is undertaking a trial of regenerative farming.

Genevieve de Spa

Genevieve de Spa (Gen) is an ex-paramedic with a deep belief that indigenous wisdom, especially Te Ao Maori, has much to offer us towards the restoration and regeneration of our living planet.

Gen joined the Ashburton-Hinds Zone Committee as an opportunity to question the dominant business model and advocate for water as a living being. Gen brings to the Committee experiential wisdom in community education and organising, Timebanks, Gift Economy and Savings Pools as well as a committed practice of experimenting with Wellbeing Economics design. She is completing her Masters in Wellbeing Economics alongside initiating a remnant native forest restoration and biodiversity education project at her home in Staveley.

Gen's concern for water and the climate is largely motivated by a love of snowboarding, skiing and river swimming.

Rūnanga representatives
  • Arapata Reuben - Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri Rūnanga
  • James Meager - Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua

  • Leslie Wanhalla - Te Taumutu Rūnanga
Ashburton District Council appointment
  • Cr Rodger Letham
Environment Canterbury appointment
  • Cr Ian Mackenzie 

How are zone committee members selected?

Water zone committee members are appointed after councils advertise for expressions of interest from the community.

Applicants are assessed on skills, expertise and experience, as well as their ability to work together to develop water management solutions to economic, social, cultural and environmental issues.

Each water zone committee has between seven and 10 members, including:

  • An Environment Canterbury appointee
  • A local territorial authority councillor
  • A rūnanga appointee
  • Between four and six local members nominated from the community who come from a variety of backgrounds and interests.

Members serve for three years, meeting every few weeks to gather information from stakeholders and the community to ensure all interests are represented.

See our video about managing water in Canterbury.

Zone committee key resources

Download key documents developed by the committee, and view meeting minutes, agendas and presentations: