Proposed Plan Change 17, requested by Whakatāne District Council, seeks to insert provisions for debris flow risk management on the Awatarariki fanhead at Matatā into the Natural Hazards chapter of the Bay of Plenty Regional Natural Resources Plan (RNRP).

Proposed Plan Change 17 was publicly notified on 19 June 2018 and eight submissions plus two further submissions were received. Submissions were heard at a public hearing from 2 to 4 March 2020 and the hearing panel of independent commissioners released their decisions on 1 April 2020. 

Proposed Plan Change 17 was incorporated into the Regional Natural Resources Plan and made operative on 29 March 2021.

One appeal was lodged with the Environment Court against Council’s decisions.

Submissions to the proposed plan change were heard by a panel of independent commissioners from 2 to 4 March 2020. This was a combined hearing with Whakatāne District Council’s Proposed Plan Change 1 (Awatarariki Fanhead, Matatā).

From 1 April 2020, proposed Plan Change 17 was amended in accordance with the decisions of the Hearing Panel

The “Report and Decisions of the Hearing Commissioners” is available below.

The report contains a narrative on the Commissioner’s decisions and includes:

  1. a schedule of decisions (accepts and rejects) on the submissions (Appendix A), and
  2. amendments to the notified plan change text (Appendix B) arising from those decisions.

The amended district plan maps are included in the part of Appendix B that addresses the Whakatāne District Plan.

Purpose of the proposed plan change

The purpose of Proposed Plan Change 17 is to manage the risk to people’s safety by creating policies and rules that will end residential activity on high risk properties within the fanhead, and extinguish existing use rights on those properties.

The proposed plan change references The Australian Geomechanics Society – Landslide Risk Management 2007 risk assessment methodology.

Core documentation

The following documents are available to download.

Documents mentioned in the Plan Change Summary:

Documents referenced in the Section 32 Evaluation Report:


If you have any queries please contact Julie Bevan (Policy and Planning Manager) on extension 8139.

Whakatāne District Council Proposed Plan Change 1 (Awatarariki Fanhead, Matatā)

As well as the change to the Regional Natural Resources Plan, Whakatāne District Council is also effecting related changes to the Whakatāne District Plan. The two plan changes have been  administered together.

Find out more about the Whakatāne District Council's proposed plan change.