To meet our statutory responsibilities of promoting community wellbeing, we need to understand our environment, people, community, and the economy. We also need to know how they relate to each other and how they might be affected by things such as natural hazards and climate change.

As a result, Otago Regional Council (ORC) has developed an Otago Economic Work Programme (OEWP) as part of our implementation of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020.

Otago landscape

The Otago Economic Work Programme

The OEWP is aimed at helping both the ORC and Otago communities understand the natural resources and socio-economic status of our region and the impacts of various environmental policies.

So far, this work programme has given us a series of reports, which we are now using to inform the Otago Land and Water Regional Plan development. We aim to add more studies to the OEWP over time to increase our understanding of our region’s natural resources and their relationship with the economy and communities. You can find these studies below.

Freshwater Management Unit (FMU) and rohe economic snapshots

An FMU is defined in the National Policy Statement (2014) as: A water body, multiple water bodies or any part of a water body determined by the regional council as the appropriate spatial scale for setting freshwater objectives and limits and for freshwater accounting and management.

These are a series of papers that give a compact overview of current socio-economic conditions in each FMU or Rohe. The snapshots present data and commentary on topics on local geography and climate, land use, economic structure, population, and level of deprivation in the communities.

The Kāi Tahu economy of Otago

Over the past 1,000 years, the Kāi Tahu economy in Otago has undergone several stages of evolution and involution. Due to events over the past 50 years, the iwi, hapū, whānau, and the Māori community have had new opportunities to re-evolve and rebuild this economy. This report, led by Aukaha with support from Te Ao Mārama, profiles the Kāi Tahu economy in Otago in the context of wāi māori (fresh water) – the past influences, its present situation, and the future outlook. In doing so, it shines new light on the nature of the Māori economy in the context of freshwater management to make it more apparent for a general audience.

This report will be available later in 2023.

Otago’s Rural Businesses and Environmental Actions for Freshwater

This report was developed by the Industry Advisory Group, with support from ORC and technical experts, to explore what environmental actions for fresh water may mean for rural businesses in Otago. The intent of the analysis is not to compare the impacts of change versus the status quo. Rather, it is to better understand the impacts of change (that must happen) so that they can occur as ‘economically’ as possible for individuals and communities.

Farmers and Growers in Otago

This report was developed by the Industry Advisory Group, with support from ORC and technical experts, to give an in-depth understanding of Otago’s rural sector. The report covers a lot of territory – both spatially and temporally, as it surveys farming and growing across over 24,500 km2 of the region and spanning over at least 150 years of land development. In essence, it is a window into rural businesses and their production systems in 2022 – a time when the region, and New Zealand, appears to be heading into new territory.

Catchment stories

The below report is a summary of catchment groups’ environment management stories. Participants came from a range of land use activities across Otago, and include catchment groups, the wider primary sector, and a few from the urban community. This report gives the Council a better understanding of what local communities are already doing to manage land and water across the region, along with an understanding of the challenges they face.

Otago economic profile

This report profiles the three key aspects of Otago economy - the availability and use of land and water resources, communities’ work and income as well as level of deprivation, and economic structure and linkages with reference to key industry sectors and their contribution to regional value, export earnings and employment.

Page last updated 8 July 2024.