Manawatu-Whanganui: delivery of land and water management services


HenleyHutchings was commissioned by Horizons Regional Council to deliver a think-piece which would consider the adjustments which could be made to capacity, capability and operating methods of non-regulatory activities of the Council’s land and water management groups to better achieve sustainable and prosperous outcomes.

The think-piece was designed to lay the ground for Council to continue to be a leader amongst regional authorities by:

  • Exploring what it would mean to do what is possible, not just what is a statutory requirement.

  • Assisting to clarify the role of the Council in unlocking opportunities for the region.

  • Enabling the Council to be up-to-the-moment, particularly in light of the fresh demands on regional councils on setting environmental limits.

  • Building on past Horizons regional leadership performance, as displayed by the Sustainable Land Use Initiative (SLUI) programme, information management (Land and Water Aotearoa - LAWA) and the multi-year and highly successful river engineering programme


  • A think-piece, used as a kick-starter for action, that assessed what capability and capacity is required to capture new directions and priorities for water management services in Manawatū-Whanganui.


At the heart of this project, commissioned by the Ministry for Primary Industries, was the intention to test the merit of a model designed to support the sheep and beef farming opportunity which was outlined in the ‘Manawatū-Whanganui Regional Growth Study’ which HenleyHutchings helped create. The intent of the model was to achieve increases in on-farm profitability and productivity by providing an efficient mechanism for the sharing of sought after information.

The particular focus of the project was to:

  • Confirm the obstacles (regulatory, information flow or otherwise) that may impede farmer performance.

  • Identify the key on-farm and off-farm interventions which may unlock farmer productivity increases.

  • Design an engagement approach which was supported, sustainable and of proven value.



  • Analysis – extensive research, synthesising complex data and applying specialist knowledge in water management and agricultural practices nationally and locally

  • Collaboration - facilitating collaboration with stakeholders across the industry