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Nanaia Mahuta

16 July, 2008

Kawarau Water Conservation Order special tribunal announced

A special tribunal has been appointed to consider an application to amend the Kawarau Water Conservation Order, Associate Environment Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.

“The tribunal will consider an application by Fish and Game to change the Kawarau Water Conservation Order to prohibit damming or diversion of water on the Nevis River,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

“Members Richard Fowler (Chair), Carolyn Burns and Rauru Kirikiri have been selected on the basis of their individual skills and experience and their skills as a collective. I wish them well with their work.”

Water Conservation Orders are set up to recognise and sustain waters that are considered to be outstanding as a habitat or fishery, or for scenic, scientific or recreational values.

The Kawarau Water Conservation Order was passed in 1997. It protects the wild and scenic characteristics of the Nevis River but does not prohibit damming of the Nevis River. 

Once the special tribunal has met, the public will be invited to make submissions on the application. The special tribunal will then hold a hearing and report back to the Minister with recommendations about whether the Kawarau Water Conservation Order should be amended or not.

The findings of the special tribunal can be appealed to the Environment Court.

Members of the Special Tribunal

Richard Fowler is a senior Wellington lawyer, specialising in resource management litigation. He has served as an independent commissioner in numerous RMA hearings for eight local authorities. He was appointed as chairperson of the special tribunal to consider an application by Majac Trust to amend the Buller Water Conservation Order. Richard Fowler is accredited under the Making Good Decisions programme.

Professor Carolyn Burns is Professor of Zoology at the University of Otago. She is a freshwater ecologist, an expert in lake ecology and will bring a thorough understanding of water quality and the management of freshwater ecosystems to the special tribunal. Professor Carolyn Burns has been a Director of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research and is a member of the Didymo Technical Advisory Group to Biosecurity New Zealand. She is a Royal Society Councillor and a past member of the Otago Conservation Board.

Rauru Kirikiri is from Te Whanau-a-Apanui.  He is a consultant specialising in Maori related issues. He is accredited under the Making Good Decisions programme. He is a facilitator and RMA hearings commissioner dealing with land use resource consent applications, including roading and wind farm applications. Rauru Kirikiri has worked for Landcare Research, State Services Commission, Ministries of Maori Affairs and Foreign Affairs and Trade in the past.


  • Nanaia Mahuta
  • Environment