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Kotahi Ecosystems & Biodiversity

Learn more about how we can protect our precious flora and fauna.

What we know about ecosystems and indigenous biodiversity in our region

Hawke’s Bay is home to some special biodiversity – rare and threatened species like the kākā, kiwi, kōkako, long-tailed bat, tree weta and kākā beak; indigenous beech and podocarp forests in the mountains and coastal swamps and estuaries.   

‘Biological diversity’ is the variety of all life and the interactions between them. It is vital for humans because it’s how ecosystems function and provides the natural systems essential to life on earth. Pollination, shelter, carbon storage, filtration of water, nutrient cycling and soil formation are just some of these. Biodiversity includes both indigenous and introduced species, and the Regional Council has a particular interest in indigenous biodiversity. 

The Regional Councils role in Biodiversity includes: 

  • Support for developing Hawke’s Bay’s Biodiversity Strategy and Biodiversity Action Plan which is being community-led by the Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay group 
  • Signatory to the regional Biodiversity Accord as an Accountable Partner 
  • Identifying and mapping the 61 ecosystem types found in the region, developing a priority classification system for these diverse ecosystems to guide restoration and improvement projects 
  • Supporting a range of ecosystem projects 
  • Providing a range of regional parks at Pekapeka, Waitangi, Pākōwhai and Tütira, and the proposed regional park for Ahuriri 
  • Leading plant and pest management, planning and service delivery 
  • Establishing new rule to manage river flows, that recognise water-based ecosystem values when allocating, taking and using water resources  
  • Identifying outstanding ecosystem values as part of the outstanding water bodies work.  

In the past, rules managing terrestrial biodiversity were mainly the role of city and district councils through district plans and managing reserves. Most district plans identify Significant Natural Areas and control vegetation clearance.  More recently, the Environment Court has confirmed that regional councils have the responsibility to protect the habitat of marine fish species, but not their harvesting. 

The new National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity (NPS-IB) is earmarked for release by the Government in 2022, following widespread consultation on a draft NPS-IB and discussion document in 2020. Broader regional council involvement in biodiversityis envisaged, but details won’t be clear until the NPS-IB is finalised. 

Ecosystems Pic 1
Ecosystems 2

What the science is telling us

Our science has identified the following issues in our region:

  • Loss of native vegetation as forests are cleared for pasture or plantation forestry, wetland drainage, uncontrolled grazing, engineering of waterways, urban development, and reclamation of coastal margins – these have all adversely affected indigenous biodiversity – even in a modified state, many areas still provide important habitat values
  • Damage, alteration and destruction of species and ecosystems from invasive, introduced plants and animals – effects can be made worse if other threats are present, such as a drought
  • Estuaries have been heavily modified, reduced in size, and adversely affected by coastal development, introduced species, sediment and runoff from farms, and urban and industrial discharges where they are located near urban areas
  • Increasing vulnerability to disease and climate change as biodiversity is lost – this reduces resilience and challenges the sustainability of life in all forms into the future
  • The risk of loss of critical natural systems, such as pollination for food production, carbon storage for climate change and wetland filtering for contaminant management
  • The risk of loss of taonga species
  • The reduction of native species which are important sources of material for cultural purposes such as whakairo (carving), te raranga (weaving) and rongoa (medicine)
  • The ability of tangata whenua to retain rangatiratanga over resources and taonga, exercise customary uses, fulfil kaitiaki roles and use Mātauranga Māori to guide biodiversity management
  • Limited financial resources to support biodiversity initiatives across the region
  • Knowledge gaps exist, including of marine habitats and species.

Kotahi & Ecosystems and Indigenous Biodiversity 

Through Kotahi we will need to meet any requirements introduced when the NPS-IB is finalised. A draft is expected from the Ministry for the Environment in 2022.

Your Feedback

The following infographic displays what the community has told us about this catchment in our first round of engagement.  For more information read the full Kotahi Community Engagement Report.

1022 Biodiversityresults V02


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