Ngā mihi maioha ki a koutou! Thank you!

Over the last six months, we’ve spoken to hundreds of people across the region about potential changes to how land and freshwater are managed in regional rules.  

Community feedback closed on 30 September.  Feedback received is helping to shape draft options that will be presented to your elected regional councillors for consideration.

You can read a summary of what tangata whenua and the community have told us so far by checking out the information that was presented to councillors here (page 19) or by reading the accompanying power point presentation available here.

Changing regional policies and rules to manage freshwater better

In September 2020 the Government released a new National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.

This directs how regional councils must manage freshwater and activities that affect freshwater. This was amended again in December 2022.

All councils, including Bay of Plenty Regional Council are now required to now required to update our policies and rules to give effect to this new national direction.

Read more here about what changes are required, what we might expect, who will be affected and to sign up to our Freshwater Flash e-newsletter.


Current stage

From April – September 2023 we will hold engagement events across the region, starting with sub-regional hui a rohe (for tangata whenua) and an event in each of the 13 “Freshwater Management Units” (FMUs) through April and May. We’ll share the freshwater issues for the FMU and region, and the draft options we are thinking about to manage them. This is a good time for you to give your feedback, because they are draft and have not been considered or adopted by your elected Councillors yet.

In 2025, anybody will be able to make formal submissions on the proposed plan changes and can be heard in front of an independent freshwater hearings panel.

Previous engagement

In late 2021 we asked the community what freshwater areas are important to them and whether they were happy with its current state. We also ran online public engagement in 2022 about long term vision and outcomes for freshwater. We’ve started discussing issues and draft options with tangata whenua and advisory panels. You can learn more about the feedback we received on Mapping Our Freshwater Sites

Learn more about the previous engagement we undertook around the Bay.

From January - March 2023 we were out raising public awareness about this work and how people could have their say. These were the events we headed to:

  • Kawerau’s Farming Like Grandad - 29 January (cancelled due to weather)
  • Katikati A&P show - 5 February (cancelled due to weather)
  • Tauranga A&P show - 11 February
  • Te Puke A&P show - 18 February
  • Kuirau Park Markets - 4 March
  • Rangitāiki River Festival - 11 March
  • Waka ama, Lake Tikitapu - 27 March

Have your say

Tukua tō kōrero! Have your say!

NOTE!!! Feedback closes at midnight on Saturday 30th September!

Feel free to complete the survey for as many FMU's as you feel passionate about. **Note all FMU's are draft at this stage.

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Regional Changes

Bay of Plenty Regional Council has reviewed the Water Quantity, and Water Quality and Land Use Chapters of the Regional Policy Statement and formed draft options and recommendations for a new Land and Freshwater Chapter.

We have also reviewed the following chapters of the Regional Natural Resources Plan, and identified draft options and recommendations for change:

  • Land and Freshwater Chapters
  • Integrated Management Chapter
  • Kaitiakitanga / Tangata Whenua Chapter
  • Beds of Water Bodies Chapter
  • Water Quantity and Allocation Chapter
  • Discharges to Water and Land Chapter
  • Wetlands Chapter
  • Land Managment Chapter

Note that water quality and quantity targets and limits will be set in FMU chapters, you can read these and give feedback by clicking on the relevant FMU in the map above.

Staff will continue to work on integration and considering matters raised by tangata whenua to date or in the upcoming months as engagement progresses.

Most reviews identified the need to simplify language, and to make changes to implement the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.

Click on the images below to see the issues and options documents for each of the chapters, and scroll down to have your say on these.

Tukua tō kōrero! Have your say!

NOTE!! Feedback closes at midnight on Saturday 30th September 2023!

Tangata Whenua Engagement

Water plays a central role in Te Ao Māori (Māori world view) as the essence of life. Regional councils have a duty to involve Māori in freshwater management, to the extent they wish to be involved. This is a long-term journey of developing relationships, capacity and capability.

In 2020, Council approved Te Hononga (PDF 5.06MB) , which sets out a path to involving tangata whenua in this journey. We’ve met with many iwi and hapū about this in 2021 and some tangata whenua led projects are taking shape.

Council staff are considering values and interests already expressed (PDF 5.81MB) .

Invitations have been sent to tangata whenua organisations about how to get involved in how our freshwater should be managed in the future and this remains as an open invitation.

If you wish to register your interest in attending a Hui-ā-rohe in your area, please contact Margaret Courtney at or Riki-Lee Ainsworth at

Toi Moana | Māori Engagement