Love NZ Land and Water is a project about bringing together people a diverse group of people to share, discuss and collaborate on projects & solutions that aim to see NZ land and water flourish.


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Day 5: Christchurch Hui

October 15, 2017


Waking up to realise we were over halfway through the roadshow was quite a shock. But there was no time to ponder this, it was an early start with an 8am flight from Wellington to Christchurch.


After a team meeting Britt and Tui went and caught up with Glen Herud from Nature Matters at the Lyttleton Farmers market. Nature matters is working on a new way of doing dairy, with a transportable cow shed and less intensive farming. Glen believes in the power of local economies.

(More to come on this interview soon.)


Exchange Christchurch was the perfect place to host the Hui, bringing together a very diverse panel of perspectives. We were very glad to have Glen Lauder and Melissa Robson who gave a perspective of the Land and Water Forum in the audience.


On the panel we had:

Chris Allen

Michael Mayell

Camia Young

Adam Gard’ner and Duane Major


Chris Allen, having a long history of farming and on the board of directors of Federated Farmers started our panel off. Chris spoke about his investment in his local farming communities and how important these communities are. He spoke of farmers desires how much they care about the waterways, but also that things aren’t as bad as the media often makes it. He voiced that it is a rural issue as much as an urban and that we all have to take responsibility for the issues we are facing, it’s not just the farmers that should be taking the blame.


Following this with a very contrasting opinion was Michael, who founded Cookie Time and has continued his food journey founding Nutrient Rescue, and now running his Drinkable Rivers campaign. Michael has a real drive to move away from traditional farming and into growing alternative crops such as hemp. “Sixty one percent of rivers aren’t swimmable”, Michael informed us, “The solution to the health of rivers is to reduce animal consumption. If we went to a plant based diet, converting dairy to plant farming, we would solve so many problems.”


Camia, brought a beautiful segway, echoing aspects of both the previous speakers, “I’m about community, which comes back to land and water. We can all do a part but can’t do everything. The last age all about production, in this next age is about creativity and belonging.” She told us more about the sharing economy and how in ancient culture we shared through necessity, and the potential of this; to collectively own assets. A wonderful question Camia posed to the group was: “How do we define what is enough - we’re currently on a treadmill of more. How do we define that, deciding collectively?


Dwayne reflected on learnings for the #Giftthisbeach campaign and the order of values that he sees as important;

  1. People first

  2. Principals second (how we look after land)

  3. Pragmatics (economics can’t trump our values) third. We’re all human people and we share the land. He said, “As we have seen in the current election the political system has become name calling, we’ve stopped putting people first.”

Adam then talked of Positive people power; “The campaign was as much about what people can do when they collaborate together, when they believe in something and when they work towards something for a common cause, in a positive way.”


It was great to see such diversity, with conflicting views from the panelists but the respect that everyone had for one and another with this.


Kiran then brought the group together to put their ideas on post its, allowing the group to self-organise in the unconference. The group broke into three groups for two fifteen minute sessions.


The unconference topics:

  1. Eco-accreditation system (for farming): What if there was an eco-accreditation system, like fair trade?

  2. Kaitiakitanga: How do we live stewardship in everyday practices - conscious consumerism how every decision.

  3. Innovation in farm systems: Opportunities in synthetic food, plant based protein food, hydroponics farming.

  4. Barriers of accessibility to our land: Implications - coastline - on ridges what development/consent looks like with consent to the land. What does that impact have?

  5. Veganism/Vegetarianism: With people from both sides of the table in this conversation present this was a very moving session.

  6. Challenges of consumerism: Importance of quality over quantity but privileged decision. Generational differences more interested in buying sustainable.



The Christchurch Hui brought a wonderful energy. There was a richness of conversation from the diverse perspectives in the room. There were strong differing opinions from both the panelists and audience members around agriculture and the concept of vegan/vegetarianism especially.


The value of Kaitiakitanga was brought up a number of times. It was interesting to see how so many of the people in the room from different spaces saw the need for this conversation.


Community was also common thread. All the panelists spoke of community and the importance of it in its various different ways, whether it be a farming community, or co-ownership.


There was certainly a feeling of gratitude for the conversation being brought up, although most people know each other in the Christchurch community there were a number that had not met, there were many coffees had over the following days.


It was wonderful to have a number of people involved in the Land & Water Forum in the room, and to hear their thoughts on the gathering, they were very positive about the way the group had been brought together.


See the vlog for day five here. Read more about day six here.

More on the panelists


Chris Allen

National Board Member Federated Farmers of New Zealand.

Spokesman for Water and Environment.

On leaving High School, Chris completed a Aircraft Maintenance engineering apprenticeship and worked for Air New Zealand for 15 years and qualified as a Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. Since 1994 Chris and his wife Anne-Marie have been farming a 360 hectare irrigated, sheep, beef and cropping property in Mid Canterbury.

We use real time telemetry on irrigation to monitor water flow, Soil moisture, Pivot operations, and water supply from a local river. Direct involvement with Farming issues. Elected Federated Farmers Mid Canterbury Provincial President for three years from 2011.

2014 : appointed to the Ashburton Water Management Zone Committee as a community member.

2014 :Elected to Federated Farmers National Board with responsibility for RMA, Water & Environment.

2014: Appointed to the governance group of Good Management Practices project in Canterbury.

Currently Federated Farmers representative on Land and Water Forum.

2017 Recipient of the Silverfern farms plate to pasture National award title.


Michael Mayell

Michael founded iconic New Zealand food brand Cookie Time in 1983, and with his brother Guy went on to build a multimillion-dollar business based on chunky chocolate chip cookies made with natural ingredients.

In 2005 Cookie Time launched One Square Meal, a nutritionally balanced meal in a bar - all you need for breakfast, lunch or whenever.

Michael’s drive for innovation and his growing awareness of the need for us to change our diet and our dominant agriculture systems led him to found his latest venture, Nutrient Rescue.

Michael wants Nutrient Rescue’s healthy, plant-based products to challenge the dominance of energy-rich, nutrient-poor food and drink derived from environmentally destructive meat and dairy agriculture. The gain is two-fold - healthier people and a healthier planet.


Camia Young

Camia is an intrapreneurer, and works to create projects that connect across the entrepreneurial world and local government. She is passionate about building 21st Century cities. Since moving to Christchurch she has been involved in several community based initiatives including Ohu (Office for Holistic Urbanism), Exchange Christchurch (XCHC), Te Pūtahi: Christchurch Centre for Architecture and City Making, the Gap Filler Pallet Pavilion, and Studio Christchurch. Before moving to New Zealand, Camia practiced as an Architect in Europe with OMA in Holland and Herzog & de Meuron in Switzerland. Camia serves on a number of trusts and is currently working for Development Christchurch, the Christchurch City Council’s urban development agency, and she is a Director of Ohu Development and XCHC.


Adam Gard’ner and Duane Major

#giftthisbeachcampaign -Abel Tasman

The two brothers-in-law who initiated the Givealittle campaign to buy a beach and got more than they bargained for!

It all started when these two had some lively Christmas Day banter about a bunch of things on the boil in New Zealand...the usual - rugby, cricket, the housing market, politics and beyond!

In the middle of the banter was this example of a beautiful piece of earth being sold in the heart of our beloved Abel Tasman National Park. They started to dream...what if we started a campaign to purchase the land as a gift for everyone to enjoy forever?! Kinda like .... Merry Christmas New Zealand!!!

With a strong belief in the power of everyday people and the help of Givealittle and Facebook they thought they might have a realistic chance to permanently take Awaroa Beach off the elite property market for future generations of New Zealanders to enjoy. Well certainly worth a shot!

So, after the classic "I will, if you will" conversation, off they went and had the ride of their lives! They experienced a media ride full of twists and turns and a surge of goodwill amongst NZ’ers coming together in new and cool ways. They’ve learnt a lot about themselves, what makes us tick as NZ’ers and a story to tell about dreaming big, going out on a limb and experiencing the positive people power of a country behind you.





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