Mackenzie Basin: Agency alignment in land and water management

Strategy and Research

New Zealanders and tourists alike view the Mackenzie Basin as one of New Zealand’s most distinctive areas.

The challenge faced today by its farmers, stakeholders and the agencies with responsibility for land and water management is how to reconcile outstanding natural landscape and biodiversity values with the need for land owners and communities to maintain and develop their sources of livelihood, particularly from pastoral farming.

The five agencies with statutory responsibility for land and water management in the Mackenzie Basin asked HenleyHutchings to identify opportunities for ‘greater agency alignment’. The envisaged purpose was: improved agency effectiveness; improved agency strategic focus; better environmental outcomes; and improved agency capacity to meet the needs and interests of the Basin’s communities, stakeholders and Ngāi Tahu Rūnunga.

Our work was undertaken in collaboration with Hugh Logan and was guided by a three-person Steering Group made up of senior representatives from Environment Canterbury, DOC and LINZ.

Our approach included a review of a wide array of background information and maps about past, present and proposed land and water management practice in the Mackenzie Basin. We also reviewed the policy, regulatory and other instruments currently applied to achieve sustainable land and water use.

The land management effects of tenure review were an important focus of the review. LINZ assisted our analysis of trends in land use change by providing case studies demonstrating various land tenure review process experiences to reflect how they have evolved in the Mackenzie Basin over the last fifteen years.

One of our important methods for acquiring information was interviewing 43 expert-informants including: people with farming interests; people with environmental interests; iwi with manawhenua over the Mackenzie Basin; a wide range of officials drawn from both central and local government, and QEII officials and officials from the Walking Access Commission.


  • The report gave rise to 25 recommendations, all of which are currently being considered by the five agencies.


  • Analysis – extensive research, synthesising complex data and information gained fromin-depth interviews with expert informants

  • Strategy – creating a roadmap for the approach, policy, regulatory instruments for greater agency alignment

  • Communications – internal and external communications

  • Facilitation – gaining consensus and common ground between parties with differing interests

  • Collaboration – with internal and external experts and key Government agencies