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Adapting to climate change

Long-term planning is key to ensuring our communities are future proofed and resilient as we respond to climate change. Significant opportunities, challenges and risks lie ahead and our role is to help support communities and prepare our region for the future.

Kotahi Waimarama Sunrise June 2022 51What is adaptation?

Climate change adaptation  means taking action to prepare for the impacts of climate change in order to protect our environment, people and communities, and the economy. It will also ensure our buildings and infrastructure will withstand the challenges that may lie ahead.  You can read more about climate adaptation from the Ministry for the Environment’s website, including New Zealand’s first national adaptation plan

Adaptation work by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council

The climate change challenge underpinned the 2021-2031 Long Term Plan, ensuring it’s a focus for Regional Council planning and decision making. Climate change projections, adaptation and mitigation are key components of all regional strategy development, as are working with iwi, regional partners, community groups, local authorities and central government

As the climate changes, our focus is on maintaining healthy habitats and biodiversity, protecting them from agricultural and environmental pests and enabling the drawdown of carbon from the atmosphere through plant life.

  • Biodiversity - we work to protect and improve the variety of plants, animals and micro-organisms across 150,000 hectares of land, 6,700km of streams and 77 lakes.
  • Protecting wetlands - is a key part of our ecosystem prioritisation programme.
  • Predator Free Hawke’s Bay - works alongside the Regional Council on a region-wide predator control programme.

As the climate changes, our focus is for Hawke’s Bay farmers and growers to be thriving and maximizing returns from resilient farming systems through smart, sustainable land use.

  • Erosion Control Scheme – we work with farmers to plant trees and prevent erosion on highly vulnerable land. It’s estimated that about 252,000 hectares of Hawke’s Bay hill country is at high risk of erosion.
  • Land for life programme - on marginal farmland to maintain and enhance the pastoral farming system.
  • Outlining what is required to ensure land use is sustainable and protects the surrounding environment and communities.

Wai (water) is a precious and finite resource. We need to ensure our aquatic ecosystems are protected and enhanced for all to safely enjoy as well as ensuring water use is sustainably prioritised.

  • Regional water security - is critical for our region and it is under increasing pressure. We are aiming to make sure Hawke’s Bay has long-term, climate resilient and secure supplies of freshwater for all.
  • Water quality – Hawke’s Bay Regional Council monitors aquifer levels and quality. This is to ensure that we have healthy water for drinking, to nourish flora and fauna and to support all types of business. Part of the monitoring and planning is to protect what we have both now and for the future.
  • River flows  - and low flow levels are monitored protecting water levels in current time which helps manage seasonal water levels as well as providing future trends and predictions.
  • Safe swimming -  is important to our region. Water monitoring at key swimming sites is ongoing and helps safeguard people’s health and ensure they are maintained for the future.

We need to ensure our region has resilient physical, community and business infrastructure to unlock potential growth and prosperity for our region.

  • Flood protection – in 2020 alone we invested over $12 million in flood protection infrastructure to protect our communities and industry. You can find out about the Resilient Rivers project here.
  • Environmental monitoring - we monitor our environment throughout Hawke’s Bay, checking that our water, air and climate are how we want them
  • Coastal hazards  – Hawke’s Bay region has over 350km of open coast and estuary shoreline. A Clifton to Tangoio Coastal Hazard Management Strategy has been developed to identify management options to build protection and community resilience along the coast.

Taking the lead role in developing climate actions for Hawke’s Bay takes connections and leadership and we are working closely with our district and city councils.

  • Education - We support teaching and learning for a sustainable world in kindergartens and schools from Te Māhia in the north to Sherwood School in Central Hawke’s Bay
  • Climate Action Network - we coordinate a CAN-do focused network of businesses and local councils to explore the challenges and opportunities of climate change
  • We support the Environment Centre HB to continue their work in specialist recycling and community enegagement
  • Pippa McKelvie-Sebileau is our Climate Action Ambassador.  Pippa can be contacted via email at

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is member of the Hawke’s Bay Region Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group.

The Hawke’s Bay community needs to be aware of the hazard risks we live with daily, so that people and organisations can be prepared, and recover quickly from any disruption to their lives. You can find hazard information in the following locations: - summarises the hazards that put us at risk in future emergency events.


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