08 March 2019

Joint Pānui pāpāho/News Release

The Community Reference Group which will help create an Action Plan to reduce the risk of and impact of future storm events in Ngongotahā has been established.

Applications to be on the group were open to the public and project co-ordinator Elva Conroy said she was very pleased with the response from the community.

“Due to the high calibre of applicants, more people were appointed to the Community Reference Group than was initially anticipated.”

Five community members, three iwi representatives and two elected members will make up the group.

Ms Conroy says those selected to be on the group had a strong connection to the community.

“They have a good understanding of the Ngongotahā catchment and community. Some, but not all, were directly affected by the 2018 flood and there is mixed representation of locations within the catchment.”

Lyall Thurston is the Rotorua-based councillor on the group for the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Rotorua Lakes Council last week approved its Rural Community Board Chair, Shirley Trumper, to be their representative on the group.

The Community Reference Group will meet in coming weeks to decide on their work programme and how to connect with the community. They will provide advice and recommendations to both councils and will lead community engagement and consultation around the development of plans for short/medium and long term actions.

Community Reference Group members:

  • Heather Brake
  • Simon Short
  • Sarah Thomson
  • Elliot Pollard
  • Keith Garratt

Iwi representatives:

  • Guy Ngatai - nominated by Ngāti Ngararanui Iwi Trust
  • Joe Edwards - nominated by Ngāti Tura Ngati Te Ngākau
  • Te Poari Newton - nominated by Ngāti Whakaue

Elected members:

  • Lyall Thurston
  • Shirley Trumper

Work already undertaken and in progress includes:

  • A new rain gauge has been installed on Mt Ngongotahā to provide earlier flood warnings
  • Stream flow modelling work on the catchment to assess risks of flooding from different storm scenarios. This is continuing
  • Other Rotorua streams are also being modelled for flood risk assessment and potential intervention works
  • Rotorua Lakes Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council working together to ensure land development and consenting processes are well integrated and reflect new target levels of protection including the effects of climate change
  • The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has been stabilising stream banks with rock armouring, clearing debris from several locations, re-establishing trout habitats and has planted more than 700 native plants to help regenerate the Ngongotahā Stream. Streambed repair and maintenance work is set to continue for all streams running through urban areas, affected by the April 2018 storm event.
  • A Ngongotahā community emergency response plan has been created in collaboration with the community and Rotorua Lakes Council civil defence team and sister emergency agencies.

Project timeline

  • December 2018: Release of flood review report.
  • February/March 2019: Community reference group established to work through recommendations together with the technical teams.
  • April/May 2019: Results from catchment modelling work due and preliminary works options developed.
  • April/May 2019: Community engagement and dialogue on draft suite of options.
  • July: Finalise options report and highlight delivery timeframes (short/medium/long term including funding scenarios).
  • Later 2019 onwards: Presentation of final recommendations to both Councils and progressive implementation of agreed actions once adopted by Councils.