10 March 2017

This month sees the end of an era, with the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme’s Chair in Lakes Management and Restoration Professor David Hamilton leaving his role after 15 years.

The University of Waikato professor joined the programme in 1992. Since then he has been instrumental in key projects including the Ohau Diversion wall, which resulted in improvements to Lake Rotoiti’s water quality, a lakes predictive modelling programme and alum dosing. The latter is one of the reasons why Rotorua algal blooms haven’t been as prevalent in recent years, along with changes made to the way the land is used.

Prof Hamilton’s role was funded by Bay of Plenty Regional Council; during his time in the role he gave the council access to high-quality research resources and international expertise, kept its staff informed about independent scientific advances and helped maintain and protect the lakes.

Regional council lakes operations manager Andy Bruere says Prof Hamilton will be a major loss in terms of science, community engagement and iwi engagement.

“He has played a significant part in the major improvements we have seen in Rotorua’s lakes over the years and we’re sorry to see him go. However his Waikato University team is still intact and will continue to provide science advice to the lakes programme.”

The Lake Tarawera Ratepayers and Residents Association thanks David for his work over the years.

“Through his his stewardship we now have a much better understanding of the water quality issues in Lake Tarawera,” says association chair Libby Fletcher.

Former Lakes Water Quality Society president Ian McLean says no one has done more to improve lake quality than David.

“He has been the scientific leader and driver for the Rotorua Lakes programme and has played a major part in communicating science to the community, as well as teaching and research. He will be sadly missed but we wish him well in his new role.”

Prof Hamilton leaves to take up a role as deputy director of the Australian Rivers Institute at Brisbane’s Griffith University. He will present a public farewell lecture this Tuesday (March 14) at Rotorua’s Energy Events Centre. The presentation will summarise the past 15 years of research in to lake water quality, what has been achieved and the challenges faced, and reflect on the journey toward restoring and protecting the Rotorua Te Arawa lakes.