Spiralis Director Paul Pope has recently published an article for New Zealand Local Government Magazine on community initiatives in wetland management. The article discusses how local government and agencies respond to those initiatives and how they can be collaborators rather than administrators who share their skills with the community to ensure a project’s success. The development of community initiatives in conservation in New Zealand has seen a steady rise by communities in the development of restorative programmes for local and regional conservation issues. In some instances these initiatives have been community responses to the inability of local government and agencies inability to provide operational or resource management responses to pressing environmental issues. Those responses are often around the availability of funding to act appropriately or immediately on local environmental issues. However, in other instances community initiatives are driven by reflection, observation and the realisation that negative changes are impacting on the community’s local environment. For local government and agencies in New Zealand partnerships in environmental management are becoming an important feature of the conservation psyche within communities.
Regional and Local Councils have much to gain in supporting community conservation initiatives in wetland management and other environmental projects in New Zealand. By acting as a collaborator rather than as an administrator within a regulatory framework, local government and agencies can be active participants sharing their skills with the community. The current high level tensions in water resource management in New Zealand needs collegiate and inter agency co-operation to be successful and communities are an appropriate conduit to ensure successful management.