Protecting what we value
Our region’s natural resources are fundamental to our wellbeing and standard of living. We need to balance the use of these resources with sustainable management and enhancement where they have been degraded.
Our cultural and historic heritage and open space values are central to our regional identity and connection to place. We have an opportunity to improve how we manage and celebrate these values.

 The evidence-what do we already know?


» 4,697 ha of land consented for irrigation across the region

        > 36.1% from ground water

        > 63.9% from surface water

» 13.2 million cubic meters of water allocated from the Waipaoa River each year   

        > Only 2.4 million cubic meters used

» Urban stormwater is a significant source of heavy metal contaminants and hydrocarbons into urban streams and rivers

» Heavy rain events mobilise the easily erodible soils of our region – sediment enters our waterways and the sea.

» Two measures of water quality fall below minimum acceptable states within the Waipaoa Catchment:

        > Phosphate in the Taruheru River

        > E. coli in the Wharekopae River, Taruheru River and Waikanae Stream

pre human wetland


» Monitoring indicates that higher levels of trapping and poisoning are needed to successfully bring possum numbers in bush areas down.

» Darwin’s and Argentine Ants are continuing to spread slowly. 439 new infestations were identified from 2013-2015.



» 23% of the region’s landcover is native vegetation; 85% of the original vegetation has been cleared.

» There are only 25 ha of remaining intact native forest in the lowlands of the region.

» 14% of the native plants in the region are nationally threatened.

» 7% of the region is identified as Protection Management Areas – our highest value native vegetation – of this only 0.1% is protected by covenant.

» Since 2008 Council has approved the clearance of 2650ha of native bush, including 166ha of Protection Management Areas.

» Wetlands are our most threatened ecosystem - only 1.75% remains.

» Our state of knowledge of wetlands is poor, and only 9 are protected by covenant.



Coastal environment

» The Gisborne region has 712km of diverse coastline

» Five surf breaks of national significance » East Cape is an important migration landmark for several whale species

» 17 Outstanding Natural Landscapes

» Our beaches and coastline are highly valued by our communities – they are a popular destination for summer camping.

» Coastal water quality is monitored at 22 beach sites and 5 estuarine sites. 

      > 83.6% of water samples within the safe swim category

      > 1.3% in the public health warning category

» There have been 11 overflows from the sewer system into the city rivers and the coastal environment since 2014.

Open spaces

 » Tairawhiti – Gisborne has a high rate of parks per capita. Council administers a total reserve area of about 960 hectares. 

» Two thirds of the parks and community property assets are located within urban Gisborne with the balance spread throughout the district.

» The most recent resident satisfaction surveys show that 82% of Tairawhiti residents are satisfied with Council provision of parks. The survey also shows that rural wards are less satisfied (75%).

» By 2023 it is projected that 23% of the population will be over 60 years and 28% will be under 17 years.

» Council cannot afford to fund all the parks and open space activities that the community wants or needs. 


The challenges and opportunities

 Challenges-if we do nothing

» Matauranga maori and te ao maori not well understood or included in our resource management plans.

» Continual species loss and decline in regional biodiversity.

» Risks to water quantity and quality on Poverty Bay Flats. » Ongoing risk to water supply resilience to Gisborne city.

» Rural townships not supported in guaranteeing reliable, safe access to household water supply.

» Increasing stress on limited Council budgets to maintain an increasing parks and open space network.

» Inappropriate development will impact the places and spaces that are important to our community.

» Loss of taonga species.


» Comprehensive assessment of ecosystem health.

» Improved accessways to and along the coast (such as walkways, cycleways, boat-ramps).

» Coastal restoration programme.

» Update the Tairāwhiti Resource Management Plan

» Refreshed landscape assessment for coastal and inland environments

» Establish marine reserves/protected coastal areas

» Improve the mauri of our waterways and access to mahinga kai sites

» Managed Aquifer Recharge project and exploration of Alternative Use and Disposal of treated wastewater

» Support safer, reliable water supply options for non-reticulated rural townships

» Design multi-functionality into parks and reserves to enhance their use and value

» Council community partnership in managing parks and open space » Improve our understanding of the values in our reserves

» Landscape - scale restoration

» Tourism benefits associated with celebrating our cultural, historic and natural heritage

The questions

» What biodiversity goals do we want to achieve for our region by 2050? 

» What are tangata whenua aspirations for regional natural heritage? 

» How should we design the long-term re-establishment of our natural heritage? 

» How should we support landowners in restoration initiatives? 

» What areas should we target for restoration and protection? 

      > Do we need tougher rules to protect what we have? 

      > How can we plan for and adapt to climate change? 

» Where are our nationally and regionally significant:

      > recreational spaces? 

      > open spaces? 

      > ecological areas? 

      > landscapes and areas of historic heritage value? 

      > cultural spaces 

      > heritage journeys, pathways, trails, routes? 

» Where could landscape scale restoration occur? 


Tell us what you think
If your message is larger than 250 words click here
  • Loading

Attach files by dropping them in here, or you can also browse your device

Your browser does not support HTML5 uploads. Please update to a newer version.

Latest Submission
What biodiversity goals do we want to achieve for our region by 2050? Significantly more native forest and animals, predator free

» How should we design the long-term re-establishment of our natural heritage? Support all the community groups working hard already. Share info, run workshops, more funding for fencing, trees, maintenance, traps

» How should we support landowners in restoration initiatives? more funding for natural heritage fund.

» What areas should we target for restoration and protection? riparian, steep hills

> Do we need tougher rules to protect what we have? Yes, absolutely, no more clearing/spraying regenerating native bush

> How can we plan for and adapt to climate change? more native trees particularly in riparian areas.. more cycleways

» Where are our nationally and regionally significant:

> recreational spaces? titirangi, manders rd and fox st mountain bike tracks. all doc sites. beaches, coastal reserves. doneraille park

> open spaces? beaches

> ecological areas? not many

> landscapes and areas of historic heritage value? beaches

> cultural spaces everywhere

> heritage journeys, pathways, trails, routes? cycleways

» Where could landscape scale restoration occur? coastal reserves, more protection, native species only, less impact from cars.
0 0