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Source: Environment Canterbury Regional Council

Industry professionals, local organisations, and community members have come together to celebrate the high points of the Kaikōura Plains Recovery Project (KPRP).

Project manager Jodie Hoggard looks back on the 2016 earthquake as quite a shake-up for the local rural community.

“Following the earthquakes, Kaikōura farmers found themselves in unfamiliar territory. We’ve achieved a lot the last four years, but I’m particularly proud of how we’ve bought people together to share knowledge and help local solutions to be developed,” she said.

Jodie Hoggard, project manager speaking to those at the event

Managing post-quake landscapes

A range of resources and information have been developed for farmers to help them continue with recovery, resilience, and rural community support.

Hoggard said getting to know your neighbours was a key aspect of rural recovery.

“Connecting with the people and properties around you was essential for farmers immediately following the quake.

“It’s something that came up time and time again and continues to be a solid base for other social recovery work in Kaikōura,” she said.

Resilience and emotion key driver

Hoggard said how people felt played a big part in shaping the Project and many emotional humps were endured as it progressed. “This meant our approach had to constantly adapt, but the Project’s aim remained the same – to provide local solutions to local problems.

“We were able to collaborate with other post-quake projects throughout the region widen our scope as the needs of farmers changed over the years.

“There were always things to celebrate – from reaching milestones to finding simple but effective methods to address issues on-farm to developing a useful suite of information that will continue to be useful for many years,” she said.

In the paddock findings show value

Hoggard said understanding your land, learning about mahinga kai, and getting involved in policy-making can also help farmers improve how their farm operates.  

“I encourage farmers to find out how they can get involved in local land-use decision making processes and work with industry professionals and councils to have their voices heard, and get the support you need,” she said.

KPRP governance group member and local farmer Tony Blunt praised Hoggard for managing the Project, which has helped dairy farmers deal with the changes facing the rural sector.

“When we first sat down as a governance group there were a lot of long faces as farmers considered the ongoing problems on farm, generated by the earthquake.

“Jodie worked really hard to keep us motivated and focused on working together and with the community, to meet our goals and facilitate good progress.

“Bringing industry to farmers, as opposed to the other way around, helped our rural community understand what they needed to do to prepare for audit, record new farm data, and improve farm systems to meet farming guidelines,” he said.

KPRP members of the governance group at the event, with Jodie Hoggard and Tony Blunt (center)

Project oversees further work

While the KPRP is winding up, there is still funding to support some smaller projects in the area.

Following the great success of the stream walk assessments carried out on Lyell Creek/Waikōau and its surrounding drains/waterways, a similar method will be used for Middle Creek catchment.

“The information gathered will help provide guidance for catchment-wide protection and enhancement work, similar to what we did in the first stages of the Project,” Hoggard said.

Funding is also being used to establish a wetland through LandCare Trust’s ‘wetlands as a farm asset’ programme; assisting with further development on Montegues wetland, and on an overland flow path demonstration site.

Network of post-quake projects and organisations

Other projects and organisations operating in the post-quake and rural resilience space were on hand at the wrap up event to share their lessons learnt and key takeaways following the quakes.

Ministry for Primary Industries, Community Paua Recovery Education Project, Post-Quake Farming Project, MHV Water, Lincoln University/Landcare Research, Environment Canterbury zone delivery team, Beef + Lamb NZ, Landcare Trust NZ and Fonterra were also in attendance.

“We would like to thank the Project funder, MPI and all the support, advice, information and assistance that locals, groups, industries and government have provided us over the last four years,” Hoggard said.

“We couldn’t have done it without this network of support.”

  • Ministry for Primary Industries – Project funder
  • DairyNZ – in kind contributions, Project management and support
  • Environment Canterbury – in kind contributions, Project management and support
  • Fonterra – in kind contribution, Project management and support
  • Kaikōura District Council – accounting and communications support
  • Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura – Project support and advice
  • Local farmers and community members.

More information on KPRP