Living Here July 2017

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W i s ok ta nte in yin r a g ou g w ir q t f ar ua or m lit wa an y, lla d bi es .


Hooker Lake is located in the Hooker Valley, within the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park in Mackenzie District.

Canterbury’s natural environment is ours to treasure, enjoy, use and protect. To learn more, take a look inside.

Ridding ourselves of unwanted pests

Old man’s beard puts our biodiversity at risk, smothering trees and shrubs, blocking out light and killing supporting plants. Rooting it out takes persistence, which is why the proposed RPMP requires landowners to destroy infestations of old man’s beard, with a Good Neighbour Rule to keep property boundaries clear of the plant pest.


allabies might be cute when you’re on holiday in Australia, but here in Canterbury they are a pest. Imported from Tasmania by a Captain Thomson in 1870, the ancestors of Waimate’s Bennett’s (or Red-necked) wallabies were let loose on the Hunters Hills in 1874 - where they now occupy approximately 350,000 hectares. They eat grasses, clover, small shrubs and even swedes – causing a nuisance to native forests and farmers alike. The Bennett’s wallaby is one of the pests to be covered in the new Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP), a proposal for which recently went out for public submissions. Successful wallaby management requires more than just rules, however. New detection technology is being developed, groups of landowners are being co-ordinated, and public education campaigns are underway. Find out more at

What you can see in Canterbury


e’ve all seen those little fish images stamped on roadside grates. They are there to remind us that everything flowing off footpaths and roads goes directly, and untreated, into our streams and rivers. This dirt and rubbish pollutes our waterways, but we can all play a part in improving things. Clearing rubbish, picking up after animals, and keeping chemicals, oils and other pollutants away from drains, all help to keep our water clean.

If you do one thing this weekend, wash your car on the grass not the road.

Wallabies are one of four animal species, one fish species and 39 plant species targeted in the Regional Pest Management Plan programmes.


Waimate: home to the Bennett’s Wallaby.


A right rural turnaround Everywhere you look, things are being done differently around Canterbury. No longer is ‘we’ve always done it like this’ an acceptable reason to continue poor practices. Water is the driving force behind much of our economy, and protection of this precious resource deserves the high profile it receives. Nearly a quarter of Canterbury’s fresh water quality is unacceptable, and almost another half is at risk. The last few months have seen the introduction of several initiatives that will address the damaging effect of human impact on our local environment. It’s all about getting the balance right. Nitrogen and phosphorus are essential nutrients to help plants grow, but when concentrated in urine patches or overapplication of fertiliser, these nutrients can become pollutants. In June, through a formal set of legally enforceable rules, Environment Canterbury introduced strict limits for nutrient levels. These limits enforce industry agreed ‘good management practice’ as the minimum standard for all farming activities in Canterbury. These rules and regulations were developed from community expectations through the Canterbury Water Management Strategy – a collaborative process involving thousands of people to develop innovative solutions to our fresh water issues.

the right thing by the environment, these consents won’t present too much of a challenge. For others, the process will encourage the action needed to spur change.

Give and take In Canterbury, using water from our rivers for commercial purposes requires a resource consent. It won’t come as much of a surprise to learn that 36% of allocated water-take consents are for farming irrigation, and 9% are for stock water. But what you might not know is that more than half of all consents issued are for a diverse mixture of activities such as snow making, aquaculture, hydroelectric power generation, winemaking, and wildlife management. So the next time you hit the slopes at one of Canterbury’s skifields, flick the switch on the heater, or kick back with a glass of Waipara chardonnay, you’re enjoying a little drop of Canterbury’s finest at the same time.

This winter, we’re working with farmers to help them meet their new responsibilities, which for many will include applying for a land use consent to continue farming. For those farmers who are already doing

Across the farming sector, there is agreement now that farming to limits as demonstrated by farm environment plans and land use consents, is a necessary part of doing business. The new rules will go a long way towards protecting and improving fresh water quality, ensuring we get the most out of Canterbury’s land and water from generation to generation. Our approach to compliance is to work with consent holders to achieve voluntary compliance. However, if necessary we have enforcement tools we can use. We have just issued a report (available online) outlining our monitoring and compliance work. This report demonstrates that 90% of water consent holders have gone above and beyond their consent requirements and now provide daily data to Environment Canterbury. This has increased 14.5% in the last year. New protocols around responding to stock in waterways complaints have led to an increase in enforcement actions, from five to 28 in the last year. Keeping stock out of rivers, lakes, streams and drains protects the quality of our region’s water, and we take this very seriously.

We have recently launched a new website full of information about the action being taken across the region to protect our water. You can ‘look a little deeper’ and find out more by visiting

Hooker Lake Hooker Lake is located in Mackenzie District, within the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. A proglacial lake, it first formed in the late 1970s when the Hooker Glacier started to retreat. Like many of the glaciers in the Southern Alps, Hooker Glacier is rapidly melting, with the lake projected to continue to grow in length until the glacier retreats far enough up Hooker Valley for the glacier bed to sit above the lake’s water level. The water from the lake (typically colder than 2°C and frozen over in winter) is the source of the Hooker River, a small tributary of the Tasman River, which flows into Lake Pukaki. Hooker Lake is one of the most accessible glacier lakes and can be reached all year round from the White Horse Hill camping ground near Mount Cook Village via the well-formed Hooker Valley Track. Find out more at

There was a large rock fall in 1991 that turned the summit of Aoraki/Mount Cook into a knife-edge ridge and reduced the height of the mountain by an estimated 10m or more. In 2013 the summit was measured at 3724m.

Good stuff: cosy homes


cosy home is the cat’s pyjamas, especially in the chilly winter months. If you light a wood burner to stay warm in the clean air zones of Christchurch, Timaru, Kaiapoi, Rangiora or Ashburton, there’s an important deadline coming up. By 31 October 2017, anyone in those five clean air zones with a wood burner installed at least 15 years ago, needs to apply for a building consent to replace it with a lower emission model. If your burner hasn’t quite reached its 15th birthday by October but will before 1 January 2019, it will need replacing before it hits that milestone. If the deadline is missed, the burner can no longer be used or may need to be replaced with an ultra-low emission burner. To find out what steps you need to take, visit or call 0800 329 276. Ahead of the 31 October deadline, hundreds of Cantabrians have already made the switch to heat pumps or modern wood burners that emit less smoke. Burning technologies are constantly improving, and modern burners are designed to run more efficiently with lower emissions. Understandably, replacing your old wood burner will come at a cost, so Environment Canterbury has increased its funding to provide subsidies for low-income households ranging from $500 to $5000. Environment Canterbury’s scientific testing shows that smoke from home heating causes most of our region’s winter air pollution. During cold, still weather conditions, smoke from wood burners isn’t blown away. A layer of cool air sits below warmer air further up, trapping smoke until the sun warms the land or the wind picks up. The pollutants are so small we don’t notice them, but they can cause all sorts of health problems.

There’s an important deadline coming up for anyone who uses an olderstyle wood burner in five of Canterbury’s clean air zones: Christchurch, Rangiora, Kaiapoi, Ashburton and Timaru. If you live in one of these zones, you may need to upgrade your wood burner soon.

Cantabrians want to continue using wood burners to keep their homes warm and cosy throughout the winter months, but we also want to breathe in clean, healthy air. The new rules help find a balance between the two. Making the switch to lower emission heating sources – coupled with improving burning techniques – will help cut down on smoky chimneys so that people in our community can breathe easy. Applying for a building consent from your local council before October 31 will ensure you have plenty of time to have a low emission burner installed and ready to go for next winter.

What’s on in the region

Waste Free Parenting Workshop with Kate Meads: a humorous, entertaining and inspirational event full of tips and ideas around ways you can minimise waste at home. $25 entry fee with free goodie bag with each ticket, bursting with waste minimisation products (valued at $100). Workshops in Timaru (10 September), Ashburton (15 September), and Lincoln (16 September). Small changes that can make a big difference to your impact on the environment.

Meet the locals



In Canterbury, winter is all about keeping warm - and improving air quality. We provide subsidies of between $500 and $5000 to qualifying low-income households that want to replace their older wood burner with a low emission model or a heat pump. Go to, Home Heating page for more information. This winter, our domestic home heating officers have been visiting homes with smoky chimneys and handing out free bundles of kindling and packets of firelighters, and information about getting more heat and less smoke out of the fire. Pauline Robertson (pictured) also staffed a pop-up shop in Timaru, answering questions about changing to cleaner burning sources of home heating, including low emission wood burners and heat pumps.

Take off on a microadventure

Escaping the routine, even for a short time, is tonic for the soul. Have you tried ‘microadventuring’? The challenge – head out into the outdoors, if only for an evening. Canterbury is perfect for a microadventure this winter. Wrap up warm, head out into the bush, cook a meal, toast some marshmallows and relax. Head somewhere local for a quick and refreshing adventure and be home in time for bed, or stay overnight in one of the Department of Conservation’s 180 huts dotted around the region. Search for ‘Nature in your area’ at to discover the native birds and plants you’ll be sharing your adventure with.

Jodie Hoggard, a Land Management Advisor, practices what she preaches. Together with husband Matt, Jodie has used Immediate Steps funding to progressively fence and plant the Swan Creek tributary which runs through their North Canterbury property, bringing back local birdlife and improving the local biodiversity. Their work has had a domino effect, with projects now underway on neighbouring properties too. Four year old ‘practical princess’ Rosie was very keen to help, suitably attired for planting in her tutu and gumboots. Above: “It’s Bear Grylls!” is a common cry when Enviroschools Facilitator Matt Stanford turns up at schools. Not quite – although Matt did climb with the Bear once upon a time. Today a keen paraglider and all-round outdoor action man, Matt enjoys a first class view of the Port Hills fire regeneration during his regular sojourns around Banks Peninsula. Matt and many of the 18,000 students involved in Enviroschools are lending a helping hand to the regeneration efforts by germinating thousands of Poro Poro seedlings. When they are big enough, these tough little plants will play an important part in restoring areas of the Port Hills devastated by February’s fires. Matthew Stanford photo Fairfax Media NZ / Dominion Post.

Connect with us

The Long-Term Plan is coming… The 2017/18 Annual Plan was adopted by Council on 29 June for the 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018 year. Thank you to those members of the community who took part in the public engagement on the draft plan. Coming up next is the new Long-Term Plan 2018-28. We look for community input in two phases: engagement around the strategic drivers and overall intent of the plan (over the next few months), and formal consultation on the detailed expenditure in the plan itself (early in 2018). Community input is essential to meeting the needs of the region, so please have your say when you see the Long-Term Plan advertised.

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