Media release

Media release: Future of Otago’s waterways in spotlight

Tuesday 20 September 2022

The dates and venues for a second round of consultation for the Otago Regional Council’s Land and Water Regional Plan have been announced.

ORC and Kāi Tahu representatives will visit 19 communities between late October and early December to discuss environmental outcomes and management options with the public.

“Now more than ever, people need to tell us how they want their waterways to be managed to safeguard all of the values that need protected – not only landowners and environmental groups, but the wider public of Otago,” says ORC’s General Manager Policy and Science Anita Dawe.

“The first round of consultation occurred in late 2021 and early 2022, where communities throughout Otago told ORC which river, lake and stream values were most important to them - the ability to fish and swim in clean waterways being very important.

“In round two, at community meetings all over Otago starting at the end of October, we’re seeking feedback around the options we put forward to achieve the values people have told us are important.

“The key question is, what do people think we need to do to prioritise the health of our fresh waters?” Ms Dawe asks.

At community meetings at 19 locations around Otago, ORC will present what is known about the health, both in terms of quality and quantity, of waterways in each area; the possible action needed and what outcome such actions may achieve for the waterbodies in the area.

Hugo at Outram Glen


New Zealand has been challenged to turn around water quality within a generation and deciding what action to take to achieve this is a major part of meeting this challenge, Ms Dawe says.

ORC is keen to hear from everyone who lives in and enjoys the outdoors in Otago, all age groups and all water users, she says.

“Strong public participation in this process is vital if we want to produce a plan that delivers positive water outcomes for future generations.”

Ms Dawe highlighted Otago’s world-renowned natural landscapes and resources, where its water is a critical aspect of those features.

“Otago waterbodies are in varying states of health and in some parts of the region we need to put more effort in. Intervening now with a balanced and outcomes-focused land and water plan to manage our waterways provides the opportunity to leave the region better than we found it.”

A new land and water plan will set boundaries and expectations, making decision-making processes easier and clearer.

“For example, if we reduce the amount of sediment that enters waterways, we reduce the potential for smothering aquatic life or losing habitat for native fish species.”

Feedback from round two consultation will inform drafting of preferred options to manage land and freshwater, including limits such as minimum flows and levels and allocation limits. These will then be presented back to the community in 2023.

Public can get involved by attending the community meetings below, sharing their feedback via discussion, or later in an online form.


Community meetings




Owaka Owaka Memorial Community Centre

Tuesday 25 October 2pm and 7pm

Queenstown Sherwood Hotel Monday 31 October 7pm
Wānaka Wanaka Community Hub Tuesday 1 November 2pm and 7pm
Hawea Lake Hawea Community Centre Monday 7 November 7pm
Tarras Tarras War Memorial Community Centre Tuesday 8 November 7pm
Cromwell Cromwell & Districts Presbyterian Church Wednesday 9 November 7pm
Clyde Clyde Earnscleugh Rugby Club Tuesday 15 November 7pm
Roxburgh Roxburgh Service Centre Wednesday 16 November 7pm
Millers Flat Millers Flat Hall Thursday 17 November 7pm
Balclutha Cross Recreation Centre Monday 21 November 2pm and 7pm
Tapanui West Otago Community Centre Tuesday 22 November 7pm
Mosgiel Coronation Hall Monday 28 November 7pm
Middlemarch Strath Taieri Community Centre Tuesday 29 November 7pm
Ranfurly Maniototo Golf Club Wednesday 30 November 2pm and 7pm
Oamaru Oamaru Opera House Thursday 1 December 2pm and 7pm
Palmerston Palmerston Community Centre Monday 5 December 7pm
Milton Coronation Hall Tuesday 6 December 7pm
Karitane Puketeraki Marae Wednesday 7 December 7pm
Dunedin Dunedin Public Art Gallery Thursday 8 December 12noon and 7pm