Sustainable Land Management Hill Country Capacity Building Initiatives

MPI is conscious of the critical role regional council land sustainability officers play in providing information to land owners and managers. These officers are one of the primary sources of material to the farming community on new land management practices. Under the stream of Capacity Building Initiatives, MPI is working with regional councils to develop and deliver targeted training packages, on a regional basis, to support and supplement the knowledge base of regional council land sustainability officers.

MPI also provides funding to establish catchment facilitation groups in high priority catchments (or sub-catchments). The aim of this capacity building is to advance the adoption of remedial management practices, provide a forum for dialogue and promote the concept of Total Catchment Management. The Programme supports these groups by funding facilitators through the relevant regional council.

Funding of $0.25 million per year has been allocated to develop training and skill packages for regional council land sustainability officers and manage the facilitation groups. This includes $200,000 for the establishment or enhancement of catchment facilitation groups and $50,000 for training initiatives. 

Initiatives for 2010/11

MPI and the New Zealand Association for Resource Management (NZARM) have developed the following initiatives for 2010/11:

Erosion processes workshops

During 2010 the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MPI) ran a series of free workshops for land managers around the North Island on the impact of erosion – what causes it, how to repair it and how to prevent it.

The workshops were run with the support of the Regional Councils and presenters Garth Eyles and Norm Ngapo, who between them have more than 100 years experience in erosion control. 

Presentations/handouts from the workshops are available by emailing HCEFund@mpi.govt

Land use capability (LUC) workshops

As New Zealand’s population and land values grow, pressure on our land resource intensifies. In order that our land use decisions are sustainable it is important that we understand the land’s underlying capability for productive use. The LUC framework, endorsed by our regional councils, allows council land management staff, planners, policy makers, rural professionals and farmers alike to both describe the landscape in an informative way and to engage in a conversation about its sustainable use.


MPI is funding a two day LUC mapping workshop on 16-18 May 2011 in Napier. The course providers are Norm Ngapo and Garth Eyles and the course is open to regional council land managers.


Facilitating catchment management workshop

MPI and the New Zealand Association of Resource Management (NZARM) identified a need for training course in facilitating partnerships within catchments and communities. Regional council land management staff achieve environmental outcomes through facilitating partnerships within catchments and communities.


Formal registrations for the North Island training course in Facilitating Effective Catchment and Community Partnerships are now open.

The course will be repeated in the South Island in July or August 2011. Notice of this course, and its registration form, will be circulated in June.

The Facilitating Effective Catchment and Community Partnerships course is relevant to regional council land management, water, biodiversity or biosecurity officers working with the community in a catchment context. It is specifically designed to assist regional council land management staff to achieve environmental outcomes through facilitating partnerships within catchments and communities.


Farm management systems workshop

MPI and NZARM identified the need for a training course in farm management systems and farm financial business models. Regional council land management staff work closely with farmers and must understand the drivers behind farmers’ decisions and responses.


AgFirst are providing these workshops in Dunedin 12 & 13 April 2011 and in Palmerston North on 19 & 20 July 2011. More information on the courses is available in the following flyers:

Previous capacity building forums

Wairarapa regional forum

MPI and Greater Wellington Regional Council held a forum to look at capturing opportunities on hill country farms through the use of sustainable land management practices.

  • Capturing opportunities on hill country farms - 17 March 2011 - Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre’s Mangarata Farm, Te Ore Ore, Masterton
  • The forum focused on the future of the sheep and beef farming, the meat market, and poplar and willows in the ETS.
  • Programme

The forum presentations can be seen on the Taratahi website.

Land use capability (LUC) awareness workshops

  • MPI, with support from Regional Councils, funded a series of regional LUC awareness workshops around the country in 2009.
  • The free workshops outlined the newly revised LUC classification, its application and benefits, and were held in Whangarei, Rotorua, Dannevirke, Marton, Stratford, Christchurch, Gore, Taumarunui and Tauranga.

Hawke's Bay regional forums

MPI and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council held three resilient farming systems forums to look at how sheep and beef farmers are adapting to the effects of drought and storm events on their pastoral systems.

  • Dealing to Drought - 17 November 2009 - Phil and Louise Alexander's property, Puketapu, Napier
    • The forum focused on pasture management during drought, in particular, deferred grazing, pasture species and pasture recovery.
    • Programme
  • Prepare and Profit - 12 March 2010 - McRae Trust Farm, Wairoa
    • The forum covered market imperatives, dealing with impact of drought and storms, new poplar varieties and management of poplars, the economics of managing different land classes, soil moisture dynamics, dryland pasture research and potential returns and risks of carbon farming.
    • Programme 
  • Creating a Climate for Success in a Dryland Environment - 20 April 2010 - lver Fern Farm' Arran Station, Takapau
    • The forum considered various options for improving the productivity of dry hill country in Hawkes Bay.
    • Programme 

Presentations/handouts from the forums are available by emailing HCEFund@mpi.govt

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