Finishing the year with a summer’s barbeque

Last week we welcomed the start of summer and the end of a busy year with a barbeque at Coes Ford Recreation Reserve, where members of the Selwyn Waihora Zone Committee were joined by friends we have worked with during the year, including members of the Selwyn District Council, Environment Canterbury, Te Ara Kākāriki and more.

It was a chance to thank everyone for their support, and to do so in a relaxed setting in our beautiful shared backyard, next to the Waikirikiri, a river that means so much to many of us.

Changes to our team

Local and regional government elections in October mean the 2020 Zone Committee will look slightly different to this year’s version. We say farewell to Iaean Cranwell and welcome our new Environment Canterbury representative Cr. Vicky Southworth. It was with great sadness that we farewelled our long-standing rūnanga member Uncle George Tikao, who passed away during the year.

On a more positive note, we celebrate Megan Hands’ election as an Environment Canterbury Councillor, and although we will miss her on the Zone Committee, we are sure she will have a positive impact around the Council table.

Co-chairing the committee with Megan has been great – our different ages, backgrounds and skills has meant we come together to form a richer understanding of shared values, issues and actions. And we all celebrated the birth of her son Jack, earlier this year. It’s been quite a year for Megan!

We are pleased to welcome Cr. Anne Galloway from the Christchurch City Council back to our Zone Committee. We also congratulate Cr. Murray Lemon on his re-election, but say goodbye to him from the Zone Committee and welcome Cr. Nicole Reid as our Selwyn District Council representative.

Looking forward to next year

The Selwyn Waikirikiri Working Group, ably led by Paul Hodgson, has presented us with a report that paints a vision of what a healthy Waikirikiri/Selwyn River could look like, with a series of recommendations about how we can achieve that vision. Next year we will work to decide which recommendations to prioritise.

It’s now been six years since our Zone Implementation Programme Addendum was published, outlining how we aim to improve cultural and environmental outcomes in the Selwyn Waihora catchment while maintaining farm viability and economic growth. In 2020 we will measure the progress we’ve made towards our goals and decide where we need to focus for the next few years.

Celebrating progress

And I also want to congratulate Te Ara Kākāriki for their Kids Discovery Plantout Programme, which won the schools category at the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network Awards, held at Te Papa in Wellington. Members of our Zone Committee were privileged to join some of these schools on their 2019 planting days. You can read more about them on the Environment Canterbury zone news page.

Finally, I’d like to acknowledge the efforts of all in the Selwyn Waihora community for the actions they have taken to contribute to help achieve the vision of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. Next year we will be measuring progress towards the goals laid out in our Zone Implementation Programme Addendum, and setting new priorities and actions. I’m looking forward to it.