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Waikato Regional Seascape Study within the Coastal Marine Area

Boffa Miskell

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  • NZILA Award of Excellence Resource Management and Strategic Planning — 2024
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A significant portion of Aotearoa New Zealand has undergone comprehensive assessments to determine landscape character and identify Outstanding Natural Features and Landscapes. However, the majority of these assessments have predominately focused on terrestrial areas, leaving coastal and marine environments relatively unexplored. The Waikato Regional Seascape Study (2023), is a first-of-its-kind assessment, in the sense that it solely relates to the seascape of the marine environment. The study endeavours to provide clarity and greater levels of understanding around the concept of seascape as part of landscape including cultural engagement with mana whenua. Whilst seascape studies have been undertaken internationally the concept has been little used or understood in an Aotearoa New Zealand context. This Study aims to address the seascapes of the Waikato Region by identifying, mapping and listing their respective values, and to identify candidates for Outstanding Natural Features and Outstanding Natural Landscapes in the Coastal Marine Area. The Study also describes, at a high level, likely pressures and threats to values in the Coastal Marine Area (CMA), which will lead onto regulatory or non-regulatory mechanisms to appropriately manage the Waikato Region seascape. The Waikato Regional Seascape Study also is the first assessment that incorporates the principles outlined in Te Tangi a Te Manu | The Aotearoa New Zealand Landscape Assessment Guidelines. Boffa Miskell has produced an assessment report that is a significant leap forward in terms of its subject matter and methodology, and the robust nature of its findings.

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The Waikato Regional Seascape Study pulls together an impressive amount of research and data into a high-quality strategic plan. The project team’s ground-breaking research on natural character has informed the Policy for Coastal Marine Areas, as well as detailed ONL / ONF identification.

The study is an in-depth exploration of ‘seascape’ environments. These dynamic, important environments are framed within an appropriate landscape planning framework. The systematic assessment of regulations is evident in a robust resource management process that included effective Iwi Management Plans, and an extensive understanding of environmental management.

Boffa Miskell Limited and Waikato Regional Council

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