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The Tukituki project is about working with landowners and communities living in the Tukituki River catchment in Central Hawke’s Bay, to manage specific water quality issues. Find out about Farm Environment Plans for the Tukituki catchment.

Tukituki Catchment Plan Change

the Regional Council is working with landowners and communities living in the Tukituki River catchment in Central Hawke’s Bay, to manage specific water quality issues.  Poor water quality and a decline in natural (biodiversity) values need to be resolved.

What is the situation?

The Tukituki River tends to have a build up of periphyton (slime and algae) during warm summer months when water flows are low.  This creates an unhealthy environment for fish, river bugs and insects and makes the river unattractive, especially for recreation.  The growth of cyanobacteria algae is a concern in some stretches of the river. It can turn toxic and affect human and animal health.  Plant nutrients, particularly nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), sunlight and water temperatures determine how much slime and algae grows in rivers and streams.

The Tukituki Plan and large-scale water storage

The proposed Ruataniwha water storage scheme was shelved in 2017. The policies and rules in the Tukituki Plan still apply and are being implemented.

The Tukituki Plan - Plan Change 6

Tukituki River Catchment Plan Change 6 (‘Change 6’) is a catchment-specific change to the Hawke's Bay Regional Resource Management Plan. It adds new chapters specifically for the Tukituki River Catchment, and at the same time, a number of existing chapters will no longer apply to the Tukituki River Catchment. Among its proposals, Change 6 seeks to address specific water allocation and water quality issues in the catchment.

Documentation relating to the Board of Inquiry, that heard the plan change, can be found here.

the Regional Council adopted Change 6 on 12 August 2015, and it became operative on 1 October 2015

Why did the Tukituki Plan happen?

In 2014 the government introduced the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM) to improve freshwater management in New Zealand. Part of this directs regional councils to establish objectives and set limits for fresh water in their regional plans.

Tukituki was the first of Hawke's Bay’s catchments to be addressed. The aim is to sustainably manage the land and freshwater to enable recreational use, ecosystem health, safe drinking water, decreased algal growth, enhanced mauri and the use of water for primary production and processing purposes.

What is the Tukituki Plan?

The Tukituki Plan is the name of the document which spells out changes to the objectives, policies and rules that apply in the Tukituki Catchment.

Who does the Plan affect?

Everyone, and in particular landowners and occupiers in the Tukituki Catchment who have 4 hectares or more of production land.

What should I be doing now?

• Plan to or start to exclude stock from waterways - See our Stock Exclusion page.
• Keep records for your Nutrient Budget and talk to people that can potentially provide a Nutrient Budget for you
• Talk to Farm Environmental Management Plan providers, and register interest with industry providers or approved individuals - See more about Farm Plans for more information.
• Keep an eye on media and this website.

The goal

The Tukituki Plan sets out the rules and voluntary approaches to improve water quality and reach specific targets. New rules include stock exclusion from permanent and some intermittent streams, Farm Environment Management Plans, and maintaining records for nutrient budgeting.  Putting this plan change into practice will take a coordinated effort from the Regional Council, landowners and the community.

Meet the team

Feel free to talk to one of our team to get answers to any questions you have about the Tukituki Catchment Plan - or the catchment environment. You can also speak to your Regional Councillor. 


For questions about farm environment plans please contact:

FEMP Project Coordinator - Shane Gilmer, (06) 833 8022

Resource Consents

For questions about a resource consent to take water, or to install a bridge or culvert, or if you are new to this and want to know the basics, please contact:

Paul Barrett, (06) 833 8014

Land Management

For some on-farm advice on stock exclusion, riparian stream planting or erosion, please contact:

Paul Train +64 0800 108 838

Warwick Hesketh, +64 0800 108 838 or 027 496 6289

Tukituki Farm Plans (FEMP)

A Farm Environmental Management Plan (FEMP) summarises the environmental risks on a farming operation and describes how those risks will be managed over time. You can learn more about what needs to be included in a farm plan and how to get one done here.

Do I need one?

Everyone who owns 10 or more hectares in the Tukituki Catchment needs a farm plan done. Some people who own 4-10ha will also need a Farm Plan.  If you have 4ha-10ha check to see you are considered a ‘low intensity’ farming operation. If you are a ‘low intensity’ system, you do not need a farm plan but should confirm with the Regional Council using the low intensity form.

When does it need to be done?

31 May 2018.

If you haven’t done your Farm Plan by May 31st 2018, you will be required to apply for resource consent. This will be an additional cost on top of the cost of getting a farm plan.

If you refuse to have a farm plan done or don’t apply for resource consent, the Council can take compliance or enforcement action against you. Under the Plan Change 6 rules, fines can be up to $300,000.


What happens after I get a Farm Plan done?

¨  Make sure your FEMP provider lets the Regional Council know. If done in a workshop setting, make sure you plan is signed off by an Approved FEMP Provider.

¨  Once the Regional Council is aware that you have completed a farm plan, you will receive notification of this by mid-2018.

¨  You should get on with the activities in your plan. This includes stock exclusion and N limit requirements by 2020.

¨  The Farm Plan will need to updated in 2021 or before if you sell or change your farming system.

¨  Make sure your Farm Plan is easily on hand. You may get selected for an audit. Auditing of FEMPs helps ensure that landowners and FEMP providers are identifying environmental risks and appropriate actions.

the Regional Council staff are here to help

For enquiries please email



Low Intensity Properties

The Tukituki Plan Change 6 defines operations as ‘low intensity’ based on certain criteria. If a property or operation meet these criteria, a farm plan is not required. However, properties that meet the ‘low intensity’ criteria should fill out the ‘Low intensity farm’ form. This will enable the regional council to establish a record of those properties that don't require a farm plan, and therefore don't need to be followed up by compliance.

What is a low intensity farming operation?

A farming enterprise that is considered to be ‘low intensity’ has:

  • Between 4 and 10 ha in operation (within or shared between properties)
  • no more than 8 stock units per hectare (this is defined on our Stock Exclusion page), and
  • permanent horticultural and viticultural crops (such as orchards, vineyards) and lifestyle properties.

A property is not considered ‘low intensity’ if it is between 4ha -10ha and:

  • used for the production of rotational vegetable crop
  • a Dairy farm, or
  • has grazed forage crops.

Stock Unit Calculations

The definition of stock unit that the Regional Council uses are the same as those used in the Beef & Lamb survey. If stock are not listed here, the OVERSEER default units are used.

Low Intensity Check List



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