Learning from each other at B+LNZ’s Catchment Community Workshops

// Freshwater

Recently, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) held three catchment community workshops in the Gisborne/Wairoa region where attendees learned about Catchment Community Groups.

catchment workshop

Catchment Communities have been gathering momentum all around the country and East Coast was no different with all three groups of farmers identifying the positive benefits for the wider community of being involved in a group.  

B+LNZ’s Catchment Community workshops ask participants to answer some key questions to establish if they want to join a Catchment Community.  

“At our recent Whangara, Hangaroa and Ruakituri events there were some really inspiring comments as to why people want to form a group,” says Mark Harris B+LNZ’s Extension Manager for the Eastern North Island.

“Some of the comments focused on the ability to share information and knowledge, that the group would allow more collaboration and support amongst the community and create synergies. They’d be more than just the sum of the parts and the most straightforward but meaningful response was ‘because we care for our environment and our river’.”

One of the key messages in B+LNZ’s Catchment Community workshops is to look at what the community already has and make a stocktake of the existing ‘good stuff’. 

“Those attending the workshops were quick off the mark with this with some great existing assets from the natural capital including rivers, waterfalls, parks and biodiversity to the social and community element of schools, marae, playgroups,” says Mark.

“A feeling of community was key with one group identifying that they had a lot of people all over New Zealand connected to their area but not living in it and they wanted to ensure they cared for it for everyone.  I’m sure many rural areas can relate to this, but a particularly touching comment was ‘It is the best place in New Zealand to raise our kids’.”

We encourage those attending our Catchment Community workshops to come up with the bones of their vision for what they want to see their area look like in 50, 100 or 1000 years.  Coming up with a ‘Vision’ is never quite as easy as it sounds. There is generally a lot of conversation around sustainability, safeguarding the future and intergenerational outcomes.  

“One comment at the recent workshops summed it up nicely, ‘Having a place you never want to leave’ and looking around, it certainly was,” says Mark.

Special thanks to Hawkes Bay Regional Council and Gisborne District Council for partnering the events.

B+LNZ’s Catchment Community Programme

You can find more information on B+LNZ’s Catchment Community programme on our website or contact your local Extension Manager. 

Catchment Community Map

B+LNZ’s catchment map allows you to connect with other catchment community groups. If you are part of a catchment group and not listed in the map, make sure to register your group so others can find you.