21.1 Introduction

21.1.1 In 1863 – 1864 the Crown engaged in a war against Maaori in the Waikato causing suffering to the people. After the war in Waikato the Crown unjustly confiscated large areas of land. This confiscation or raupatu has, over time, had a crippling impact on the welfare, economy and mana whakahaere of Waikato-Tainui and the ability to manage the lands, awa and resources within the tribal rohe. Though raupatu did not change the beliefs and values of Waikato-Tainui, nor the unique relationship with the whenua and awa, its impact on the mana whakahaere exercised by the tribe was immediate.

21.1.2 Subsequently, land in the Waikato-Tainui rohe has been drained and developed for a number of uses. Land development has dramatically reduced the area of native forest and wetlands throughout the region and pastoral farming, exotic forestry, industrial and urban development is now the main productive land uses.

21.1.3 This reduction in native ecosystems and changing land use has consequently affected the natural ecosystem balance. This is particularly the case where current land use is not ideal for the area, such as farming on marginal, hilly lands. Attempts to control natural processes have further impacted on the natural ecosystem balance. For example, attempts to control flooding, which occurs naturally and contributes to ecosystem balance, has exacerbated habitat decline, particularly when waters are further contaminated from other land use activities or have a higher than natural sediment loading. Habitats for indigenous flora and fauna are in decline or have been destroyed.

21.1.4 Declining habitats has resulted in a decreased ability for Waikato-Tainui to undertake hauanga kai. This causes whakamaa for Waikato-Tainui who are unable to share their bounty with and to adequately host manuwhiri.

21.1.5 Of particular concern to Waikato-Tainui is the degradation that has occurred in soil quality caused by unsustainable land use practices (such as some agricultural and horticultural practices). Poor soil increases the risk of erosion and nutrients leaching into water bodies, thereby further degrading water quality, adversely affecting the health of the river with a subsequent loss of cultural and other Waikato-Tainui uses.

21.1.6 The ability to access and effectively utilise land is intrinsically linked to the ability of Waikato-Tainui to provide for the environmental, social, spiritual, cultural, and economic health and wellbeing of Waikato-Tainui. Land can have distinct or, at times, overlapping values depending on the use of the land. For example, land set aside as an urupaa (burial site) has a different environmental, social, spiritual, cultural, and economic value than land set aside for Waikato-Tainui economic initiatives.

21.1.7 For Waikato-Tainui all land has mauri and all land has value to Waikato-Tainui. The mauri of much of the land within the rohe of Waikato-Tainui has been adversely affected by its historical and current use. Waikato-Tainui seeks to restore the mauri of the land in balance with achieving the environmental, social, cultural, spiritual, and economic aspirations of Waikato-Tainui. Waikato-Tainui recognises that restoring the mauri of land needs to occur in partnership with the wider community, local authorities, government, and commercial and industrial users.

21.2 Issues

Soil erosion and management

21.2.1 The removal of indigenous vegetation in favour of pastoral farming, production forestry and roading has caused, and continues to cause accelerated soil erosion, particularly on hill country. This is delivering inflated loads of sediment to rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal marine areas and causing significant negative impact on water quality and aquatic biodiversity.

21.2.2 Intensification of agricultural practices throughout the rohe increases the risk of soil degradation, soil compaction, surface water runoff, and sediment loss from hill and flat land areas.

21.2.3 Clear-felling harvesting practices create the potential for soil erosion which causes sedimentation of receiving waterways and the coastal environment and smothers in-stream habitat and ecological values. This applies both within the context of forestry, but can also apply to riparian management particularly with regard to invasive/pest plant removal along waterbodies.

21.2.4 Fluctuations in water levels (volume/quantity), accretion (gradual build up of sediment or other natural material), wave action and water flow can all influence erosion potential, particularly along river and lake banks, around river islands and along the coast.

Nutrient loss and water quality management

21.2.5 Intensification of agricultural practices increases the nitrogen and phosphorus loads and levels of faecal pathogens (‘bugs’ in tiko) entering rivers, lakes, wetlands and estuaries. While the effects of these contaminants impact most noticeably on water bodies, the sources and causes lie on the land and with how the land is managed. Contaminants put onto or into land compromises the mauri of the land, rivers, lakes, and marine environments.

Land contamination

21.2.6 There is a lack of detailed knowledge of existing and historical contaminated sites within the rohe and their on-going impact on the environment.

Floodplains and drainage

21.2.7 The construction of flood protection and drainage works to prevent periodic flooding of natural flood plains has limited the natural process of soil fertility replenishment, disconnected aquatic systems from land-based environments (e.g. forests to waterbodies to wetlands), and, consequently, has reduced the habitat available for the plant and animal life.

Integrated catchment management

21.2.8 The relationship between land, water, Waikato-Tainui, and communities are interlinked. Greater focus needs to be placed on an integrated catchment management approach to land and water management.

21.2.9 For Waikato-Tainui, integrated catchment management includes recognising and providing for the relationship of Waikato-Tainui with the catchment.

21.3 Objectives, Policies & Methods

Objective – effectively manage soil erosion

21.3.1 Activities that accelerate soil erosion are managed effectively, including through the reforestation and retirement of marginal lands from existing intensive and environmentally unsustainable land uses.

Policy – Retirement and restoration of marginal land

21.3.1.1 To encourage local authorities and landowners to retire highly erodible land from farming and to restore and protect highly erodible lands.

Methods

(a) Prohibit the clearance of indigenous vegetation and soil disturbance on highly erodible land that could cause further erosion; unless it is necessary to undertake the clearance; and the soil disturbance and the resulting effects can be managed.

(b) Support and encourage the restoration and protection of highly erodible land areas using locally sourced indigenous vegetation.

(c) Support and promote sustainable land management practices.

(d) Promote the direction of funds to support local reforestation initiatives on marginal lands.

Policy – land development

21.3.1.2 A ll major excavation works that have the potential to impact on waterways shall have sufficient erosion and sediment control measures in place to ensure that adverse effects on water bodies are managed.

Methods

(a) Erosion and sediment control plans in place.

(b) Waikato-Tainui input, as appropriate, into development and monitoring of the erosion and sediment control plans.

Policy – riverbank erosion

21.3.1.3 T o ensure that riverbank erosion, including the erosion of river islands is effectively managed.

Methods

(a) Riparian planting of appropriate, preferably indigenous species shall be promoted and increased to stabilise riverbanks and reduce erosion in the region.

(b) Riparian vegetation shall only be removed from river and lake margins using methods that do not result in increased soil erosion in the long term. Any short-term effects shall be managed to minimise any adverse effects.

(c) River margins prone to significant riverbank erosion shall be identified and managed to minimise erosion risk.

(d) Protect riverbanks from erosion by working with natural river dynamics and flow patterns and using natural materials (e.g. indigenous vegetation).

Policy – dam management

21.3.1.4 To ensure that water flow through the Lake Karaapiro dam is such that the downstream erosion of riverbanks is minimised.

Methods

(a) Water flows through the Lake Karaapiro dam and all other dams on the Waikato River system, have set minimum and maximum flows that minimise erosion of riverbanks downstream.

Objective –The life supporting capacity of land and soils

21.3.2 The life supporting capacity of land and soils effectively manages soil nutrient loss and water quality so there is minimal impact on nutrient loss to waterways.

Policy – soil and land management practices

21.3.2.1 To promote the adoption of best practice land and soil management that minimises soil erosion, nutrient leaching, and sediment and nutrient runoff.

Methods

(a) Land management practices that are sustainable, improve soil organic matter, naturally improve soil nutrient balance and prevent soil erosion are encouraged and promoted.

(b) Activities on land use best practice methods to minimise soil erosion, nutrient leaching, and sediment and nutrient runoff.

(c) Land use activities are matched to land use capability through methods such as matching land use to soil type so as to minimise soil damage. Ideally, land should only be used in a way that the land is capable of sustaining.

Policy – land management

21.3.2.2 Promote and encourage the development and adoption of land management practices that protects waterways from suspended sediments, nutrients and pollutants.

Methods

(a) Promote and encourage environmentally sustainable farming practices that maintain and restore the good health of the land, rivers, lakes, wetlands, estuaries, and coast.

(b) Ensure best practice management to minimise soil loss from cultivated land. This shall include, but not be limited to, having planted riparian buffer zones located in areas most likely to intercept surface runoff containing sediment.

(c) Encourage research directed at developing technology and management practices that will minimise nutrient leaching and runoff and reduce the risk of nutrients reaching water bodies.

Objective – effectively manage land contamination

21.3.3 Effectively manage the impact of contaminated land on the surrounding environment.

Policy – effectively manage land contamination

21.3.3.1 To ensure that the impact of contaminated land is effectively managed and, where possible and practicable, mitigate and restore the contaminated land.

Methods

(a) Understand the location of contaminated sites within the rohe including working with mana whakahaere to determine their understanding of the location of existing and historical contaminated sites.

(b) Manage the effect of the contaminated sites on surrounding properties, air, and waterways.

(c) Plans to contain, manage, mitigate and restore the contaminated sites are in place and implemented.

(d) Promote a polluter pays approach where those responsible for causing the contamination have primary responsibility to manage the contamination consistent with this Plan, regardless of whether they still have legal responsibility for the contaminated site.

(e) A new owner of an existing contaminated site that acquires the site with the knowledge that it is contaminated, accepts the burden of managing the site consistent with this Plan.

Objective – achieve integrated catchment management, including floodplain and drainage management

21.3.4 Integrated catchment management occurs across the entire rohe of Waikato-Tainui, including in catchments that impact on, or flow into the Waikato-Tainui rohe. Integrated catchment management includes the effective and sustainable management of floodplains and drainage areas to promote natural habitat enhancement.

Policy – achieve integrated catchment management including flood plan and drainage management

21.3.4.1 To promote the development and use of integrated catchment management plans that adequately considers land use, floodplain and drainage management and that promotes habitat restoration.

Methods

(a) This objective, policy, and methods to be read in conjunction with Objective 19.4.3, Integrated catchment management (water).

(b) Methods for this policy are listed in the methods for Policy 19.4.3.1.

Policy – collaboration with landowners and managers

21.3.4.2 To ensure that landowners and land managers that impact on the rohe manage land sustainably and effectively. This includes land that is upstream of the Waikato-Tainui rohe.

Methods

Landowners and land managers that impact on the rohe manage land in a manner that:

(a) Protects the mauri of the land.

(b) Reduces sediment loads resulting from erosion to the extent required to improve the ecological and cultural condition of rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal areas.

(c) Ensures farming practices on highly erodible land manage the effects of erosion on this land.

(d) Encourages retirement of land from inappropriate land use activities or the restoration of land to appropriate land use.

(e) Ensures there is minimal erosion resulting from vegetation clearance or land disturbance.

Policy – Waikato-Tainui relationship with catchment

21.3.4.3 To recognise and provide for the relationship of Waikato-Tainui with catchments in the Waikato-Tainui rohe.

Methods

(a) Engage with Waikato-Tainui on matters affecting the catchment in the manner outlined in Chapter 6, ‘Te koorero tahi me Waikato-Tainui – consultation and engagement with Waikato-Tainui’.

(b) Waikato-Tainui shall be consulted and included in the decision making process for all proposed activities, developments, and/or landuse changes that may have an impact on land and water values.

(c) Priority shall be given to protecting any sites of cultural significance threatened by erosion.

(d) Promote Waikato-Tainui values regarding land within schools, communities, and with landowners.

(e) Encourage whaanau to familiarise themselves with local environments and catchments, and identify spaces where values such as producing, harvesting and trading kai for the whaanau and hapuu can become established.