Case study: Tairua harbour and catchment management plan

Sedimentation of Tairua Harbour, on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, has long been a concern for the local community and management agencies. A report by the Hauraki Catchment Board in 1977 stated that it seemed “fairly certain that the tidal compartment is under attack” from the greatly increased sediment flow that had occurred over the previous 100 years. It continued “there is an urgent need for a comprehensive catchment scheme aimed … at a plan of land use which will conserve native forest, and will create an appropriate compromise between ‘production’ and ‘protection’ for the purpose of controlling the entry of sediment into the river system”. 3086

The Waikato Regional Council worked closely with the local community and stakeholders during the late 2000s to identify issues related to the health and wellbeing of the Tairua catchment and harbour and the preservation of environmental and community values. It was agreed that an integrated catchment management plan was needed to provide an assessment of current pressures and issues in the Tairua Harbour and catchment and to provide a practical strategy to alleviate these. 3087  In addition, relevant matters identified in the Coromandel Peninsula Blueprint (a regional strategy for managing growth and development) would be addressed within the plan. More detailed site specific plans are to be developed with landowners and land managers relating to specific works and issues on private properties.

During the drafting of the catchment management plan consultation was undertaken with a range of stakeholder groups, agencies and landowners in an effort to ensure the issues, outcomes and works areas focus on what is needed by the community. Key current and potential issues for the Tairua harbour and catchment identified by the plan are: 3088

  • Declining aquatic and terrestrial habitat
  • Evidence of a general decline in water quality, particularly in peak summer period
  • The perceived and actual impact of forestry activities
  • Potential for pine to pasture land conversion
  • Mangrove expansion impacting on recreational use and other significant habitats
  • Salt water paspalum expansion and impact on habitat and hydrology
  • Impact of plant and animal pests
  • Sedimentation rates in the harbour and surrounding streams
  • Decline in fish numbers and species diversity in the harbour

The figure below provides an example of the way that issues are identified, methods to respond to these and the expected outcomes.

An essential part of harbour and catchment management plan is the implementation and monitoring. A detailed implementation plan provides associated actions for achieving outcomes. Where needed, these should be able to feed into different annual and long term planning processes in order to fund them. Monitoring is also important, and should identify changes over time and enable comparisons to be made.  


  2. Waikato Regional Council, 2010

  3. Waikato Regional Council, 2010

Last updated at 2:11PM on February 25, 2015