Enhanced Natural Environments

NERP 2013

Natural Environment Recovery Programme

The development of the Natural Environment Recovery Programme [PDF, 2.1 MB] (NERP) was led by Environment Canterbury and was one of the recovery programmes identified within the Recovery Strategy for Greater Christchurch - Mahere Haumanutanga o Waitaha.

The purpose of the recovery programme was to repair and restore the natural environment and protect it from further damage during the rebuild.

It is also concerned with increasing the resilience of the natural environment to future events and processes.

It considered the effects of natural hazards and other environmental factors, including the effects of climate change and sea-level rise.

Coasts, Estuaries, Wetlands and Rivers

The Canterbury Water Management StrategyThe Canterbury Water Management Strategy

The Canterbury Water Management Strategy [PDF, 2.7 MB] established ten water Zone Committees in Canterbury, which works with the Regional Committee to achieve the outcomes of the Strategy. Each of the zones has completed Zone Implementation Programmes, which were endorsed by the Environment Canterbury Commissioners. The three Zone Committees in the Greater Christchurch area are:

Christchurch-West Melton

The Christchurch-West Melton Zone Committee(external link) operates as a joint committee of Christchurch City Council, Selwyn District Council, and Environment Canterbury. The Christchurch-West Melton Zone Committee developed a Zone Implementation Programme which focuses on the following five priority areas for water management:

  • enhancing and managing waterways for recreation, relaxation and amenity
  • improving surface water quality and safeguarding surface water flows
  • enhancing healthy ecosystems, indigenous biodiversity and valued introduced species and landscapes
  • safeguarding groundwater quality and flows for multiple uses
  • Making efficient use of water and managing demand


The Selwyn-Waihora Zone Committee(external link) operates as a joint committee of Christchurch City Council, Selwyn District Council and Environment Canterbury. The Selwyn-Waihora Zone Committee took a 'whole of waterways' (similar to the 'Ki Uta Ki Tai' concept) approach to developing the Zone Implementation Programme. The Zone Implementation Programme includes a catchment-wide view of land use and water quality, nutrient management, potential water storage options, and farm management systems to achieve the desired outcomes stated by the community.


The Waimakariri Zone Committee(external link) operates as a joint committee of Waimakariri District Council and Environment Canterbury. The Waimakariri Zone Implementation Programme includes 56 recommendations to Environment Canterbury and Waimakariri District Council, and other parties. The recommendations focus on biodiversity, land use and water quality.  The recommendations will be given effect to through council plans and work programmes.

Biodiversity and Landscapes

Canterbury Water Immediate Steps Fund

A five year $10 million 'Immediate Steps' (external link)biodiversity protection and restoration programme was launched in 2010 as part of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.  Three flagship projects were identified to support over the five years from 2010.  These were Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere, enhancement of the upper catchments of the Rakaia and Rangitata rivers; and the Wainono Lagoon project. Over 220 projects received funding throughout the Canterbury region.

Environment Canterbury Biodiversity Fund

The Environment Canterbury Biodiversity Fund has approximately $400,000 per year to support on the ground actions to protect and restore the region's biodiversity.

Mahinga Kai and Local Food Production

Mahinga Kai Exemplar Project

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu are currently working with Ngāi Tūāhuriri, the Avon Ōtākaro Network and the Canterbury Waterways Research Centre to develop an exemplar project.  The exemplar project will provide for the protection and enhancement of Mahinga Kai values at a site on the Avon/Ōtākaro.

Edible Canterbury

A food resilience hui was held at the University of Canterbury in 2013, co-hosted by Soil and Health Canterbury and the Rangiora Earthquake Express. From this hui, a Food Resilience Network was formed and Edible Canterbury (external link)established in 2014. Edible Canterbury is a multi-agency group which aims to examine issues around food security and availability in Canterbury from a range of perspectives. Edible Canterbury is committed to increasing the availability of good food to the residents of Greater Christchurch.

Natural Hazards and Risk Management

Regional Approach to Risk

Environment Canterbury is working with Civil Defence Emergency Management and territorial authorities to develop a regional approach to managing natural hazard risk. In 2016 an initial  one year work programme was developed, which will provide the basis for a long term programme.   

Regional Policy Statement (2013) Natural Hazards Chapter

Regional Policy Statement (2013) Natural Hazards ChapterThe Canterbury Regional Policy Statement (CRPS) became operative in 2013. Chapter 11 of the CRPS addresses natural hazards, and reflects Civil Defence Emergency Management planning through the integration of hazard risk management and the natural and physical resource management regime in Canterbury.

Objectives of the chapter are:

  • to avoid new subdivision, use and development of land that increases risks associated with natural hazards
  • adverse effects from hazard mitigation are avoided or mitigated
  • effective integration of the management of and preparedness for natural hazards

Climate Smart Strategy (2010)

The Climate Smart Strategy (external link)sets the direction for community and Council responses to the impacts and opportunities presented by climate change. A vision of the strategy is "a climate smart Christchurch". This means both reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and responding to social, cultural, economic and environmental challenges and opportunities.

Resource Efficiency and Environmental Protection

Waste and Environmental Management Team (WEMT)

Environment Canterbury, Christchurch City Council, Selwyn and Waimakariri District Councils and the now disestablished Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), established the Waste and Environmental Management Team, to monitor and manage compliance related to earthquake waste and contaminated land.