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The Kotahi Plan

The Kotahi Plan will involve everyone in Hawke's Bay. It’s the way we will manage and protect our precious natural and physical resources. We will work together with tangata whenua and each community to ensure local values are woven throughout this new plan

UPDATE - November 2023

Hawkes Bay Regional Council’s Policy team have transitioned back into Kotahi related planning work.

Kicking things off will be an update to the Regional Policy Statement (RPS) as the team embark on addressing the region wide issues.

Post Cyclone Gabrielle, the Hawkes Bay region has endured new issues within our catchments and across the wider region. We need to identify the new issues our communities are facing and re-evaluate the existing issues to address them appropriately through our RPS.

There will be opportunities for input into this process in 2024, and we encourage our communities to get involved.



What is the Kotahi Plan?

The Kotahi plan will be created by the Regional Council working together with tangata whenua and our communities over the next few years. It will be an important document that will eventually replace the current Regional Policy Statement, Resource Management Plan, and Coastal Environment Plan. It will be our blueprint for how we use and care for our environment ki uta ki tai - from the mountains to the sea.

Find out more about what the Kotahi plan will include

The Big Picture

Hawkes Bay is a special place to live. We are working together with tangata whenua, and our communities to develop a new resource management plan that will help keep it special for generations to come. We're calling this the Kotahi plan.

The Kotahi Plan was chosen as a name because it represents the single unified plan that will be developed through this process of combining the regional policy statement, regional resource management plan, and coastal environmental plan. 

The Kotahi Plan will replace our existing resource management plans, including the Regional Policy Statement, Resource Management Plan, and Coastal Environment Plan. It will give effect to new policies, planning and technical standards from Central Government. It will be created as an ePlan.

All aspects of the environment including freshwater, biodiversity, climate change, soil management, the coastal and marine area, natural hazards and risk, energy, transport and infrastructure will be included in the Kotahi Plan.

Sign up to the the Kotahi plan newsletter

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Our Engagement Approach

Our engagement approach is about bringing multiple threads of engagement together. Tangata whenua, stakeholders, community and their knowledge and experiences (mātauranga, science and other information) will all be sought. The weaving of this collective knowledge and science will create the Kotahi Plan. These individual threads will start out separately, they may cross over along the way and will eventually come together at the end.

To achieve this we're working together with iwi and hapū at every step of the way through an agreed process. This is occurring in parallel with wider community and stakeholder discussions. We're also working collaboratively with Post Settlement Governance Entities.

We want to understand and embrace our communities’ shared knowledge and experiences, including mātauranga, to enable us to look after our environment better. This knowledge will come from working together with tangata whenua, and community and stakeholder engagement. It will also come from other sources such as Treaty Settlements, Iwi Management Plans, national and regional policy documents, and our own monitoring and science programmes. We will bring all this information together and feed it into the Kotahi Plan.

Between July and September 2022, HBRC hosted 12 drop-in sessions across the region and gathered feedback online from social media and the online consultation tool Social Pinpoint. This community engagement is an important first step in the Kotahi project plan development as it sets out what people feel are the prevailing environmental issues in the specific areas in which they live, work, play and whakapapa to. This engagement focused on what our communities value, what the big environmental issues are for them and what they wanted to see the environment look like in the future. Following the events, the data was compiled, reviewed and a report created to explain what we heard from our communities.

Find out more and read our community engagement report here.

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Frequently asked questions about the Kotahi plan

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The Kotahi Plan is the regional resource management plan, which will combine the Regional Policy Statement, Regional Plan and Regional Coastal Environment Plan.  This will set out how we will use and protect our natural and physical resources.

The legislation which guides the content of the plan is the Resource Management Act 1991, the purpose of which is to promote sustainable management of natural and physical resources.  The National Policy Statements are national direction for matters of national significance and National Environmental Standards prescribe technical standards such as methods at a national level.  These sit under the RMA, but also guide the plan development.

The RMA requires councils to review their plans every 10 years.  In addition to this the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 requires all regionals councils to have notified freshwater catchment plans by 31 December 2024.

Central government updated it's National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management in 2020 (NPSFM 2020). The updated policy requires regional councils to give effect to the concept of Te Mana o Te Wai in plans and policy statements, and in doing so councils must develop a plan for maintaining and improving the state of freshwater in the region. It also requires councils to:

  • Set long-term visions for water informed by aspirations of tangata whenua and communities;
  • Actively involve tangata whenua in freshwater management such as the preparation of policy statements and plans;
  • Investigate options for tangata whenua involvement in other RMA processes;
  • Establish Freshwater Management Units for monitoring and reporting purposes.

Councils must notify changes to policy statements and plans by 31 December 2024.  The Kotahi Plan will meet all of the requirements of the NPSFM by the 2024 deadline.  Find out more on the MFE website here.

Te Mana o Te Wai is the fundamental concept that underpins the NPSFM 2020 and reflects the vital importance of freshwater. It imposes a hierarchy of obligations that prioritise how freshwater must be managed. The hierarchy is as follows:

  1. The health and well-being of the water
  2. The health needs of people (i.e. drinking water)
  3. The ability of people and communities to provide for their social, economic and cultural well-being

The Kotahi plan will incorporate the concept of Te Mana o Te Wai and its hierarchy of obligations. (Find out more here -Te Mana o Te Wai Factsheet).  Every region council must engage with communities and tangata whenua to determine how Te Mana o te Wai applies to water bodies and freshwater ecosystems in the region.

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We are working in catchments which relate to the biophysical environment.  This will help to have conversations which look at the environment holistically, ki uta ki tai, from the mountains to the sea and how we deliver better environmental outcomes through integrated management. 

We aim to engage with everyone in Hawke’s Bay.  We are engaging with tāngata whenua and our communities, as well as the Territorial Authorities, primary industry, stakeholders and environmental groups.

An eplan is an online interactive document that allows users to search for a particular property and see the rules and policies that apply to that particular property. The National Planning Standards (2019) require councils to have an eplan.


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