What is Oranga Wai | Our Freshwater Future?
Oranga Wai | Our Freshwater Future is Horizons Regional Council’s way to ensure you can learn about and be involved in some key changes to freshwater management in our region.
These changes began when central government launched its Essential Freshwater package in 2020, which requires us to revise our regional policies. The package and associated work are designed to help everyone prevent further damage to waterways, lakes and streams, and get water bodies and ecosystems back to or maintained at a healthy state.
For Horizons, this involves various rounds of engagement, and working with tangata whenua and other stakeholders, before notifying a change to the One Plan, our guide to managing natural resources in our region.
The Essential Freshwater package has two streams of work – the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM) and new regulations such as the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater (NES-F), stock exclusion regulations and freshwater farm plans. The NPS-FM gives Horizons direction on how to care for the wellbeing of waterways in our region, while the NES-F is a series of regulations enforced across all of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Our engagement approach
You can find information about previous engagements on topics like freshwater values and long-term visions on the dedicated Oranga Wai website. We will also continue to post future information about the freshwater reform process there, along with our progress drafting objects for the revised plan as we close out engagement rounds
We have different engagement approaches to enable different groups – iwi/hapū, stakeholders and the wider community – to share their unique experiences with and perspectives of freshwater. We will weave their shared knowledge – mātauranga, science or other information – and experiences into our existing knowledge to create a plan to manage and care for freshwater.
Think of this approach like a braided river. Rivers start from a small source, but as they flow to the sea are fed by multiple smaller streams. All those sources build the strength of a river.
The braids of a river can appear to flow individually times, reflecting the unique views of different groups in our region. Those unique views and knowledge bases will require different forms of engagement, sometimes happening seemingly in isolation from each other.
However, we aim to bring together all those thoughts and engagements to create a strong vision of how to care for freshwater in our region, with all of us ultimately unified and moving in the same direction with the same goals.
Water, water everywhere
Check out the following video to learn more about where freshwater comes from, how it moves over, through and under the land, and how humans use it for varied activities.