hands off Resource Management Act

Will you be happy to take your family picnicking down at the enhanced river, now a concrete buttressed irrigation ditch? Would it not be more to your liking to take them to a free flowing, grass edged, gravel bottomed, crystal clear river that is safe to swim in. We believe that water has to be cared for (not solely managed for profit) and allowed to express itself without further abstraction or intervention, floods and all. This should be the life of a river, not having it’s peek flows stolen along with it’s health. When our rivers can no longer enjoy the spontaneous flushes that bring cleanliness and vigor to the ever evolving veins of our land, this will a sad day. If we go down the path of ever increasing irrigation, Canterbury will end up with little left of the beauty of our rivers, becoming like China where 28,000 rivers and streams have recently disappeared. We cannot continue extracting water as we have over the last 20 years, without major consequences.

The fundamental change is from environmental protection to economic development.

We oppose the proposed changes to the New Zealand Resource Management Act which will mean the public has no say to proposed economic exploitation of our rivers, lakes and national parks and seas. These changes will fast track development and do away with our democratic right to have input into what happens to our environment.

We have some serious concerns about the proposals.

The government states “the proposed reforms are designed to:
• increase ease of use, certainty and predictability of the system
• reduce necessary duplication and cost
• improving important environmental and other outcomes and
• safeguarding the role of local government representing the interests of their communities”

The proposals, however, would undermine those stated purposes because they would:
• marginalise or constrain the participation of individuals and communities
• extend central government powers to intervene in and amend local planning processes
• weaken the wording and requirements for ensuring that decisions are made to primarily protect, preserve, maintain and enhance our environments
• fundamentally change the context of the RMA from environmental protection to economic development.

We would suggest that existing legislation, the Resource Management Act, should be strengthened, not amended. We support sustainable management and careful stewardship providing for our own and future generations. We believe that the current RMA, supports these goals and should be left alone.

What price to our environment the following Resource Management Act proposed changes?

We made the following submission on the proposed changes to the Resource Management Act (1991).

We do not agree with the proposals in 3.1.1 – 3.1.4
We oppose changes to important principles contained in sections 6 and 7 of the RMA.

We oppose the deletion of 6(a) The preservation of natural character of the coastal environment, wetlands, and lakes and rivers and their margins from inappropriate subdivision, use and development; 6(b) The protection of outstanding natural features and landscapes from inappropriate subdivision, use and development; 6(c) The protection of areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna.

We oppose the deletion of existing matters eg 7(aa) the ethic of stewardship; 7(c) the maintenance and enhancement of amenity values; 7(d) intrinsic values of ecosystems; (7f) maintenance and enhancement of the quality of the environment; 7(g) any finite characteristics of natural and physical resources.

We disagree with 3.2.4 Empowering faster resolution of Environment Court proceedings.
We oppose the proposed limits on appeal rights and the reduction in role of the Environment Court. The Court currently provides important independent expert oversight of consent and planning processes.

We oppose 3.3.2 – 3.3.11
WE disagree with these proposals, which reduce public participation in resource consent applications and deny the public input in decisions which affect our environment and us all.
This in our opinion will not improve our resource management system but allow decisions that erode democracy and our already polluted waterways.

Artists for Save Our Water.

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NO JOY for environment under National Party.

“I00 % Pure New Zealand is to be taken with a pinch of salt,” says John Key.

2pm, December 1, Latimer square for March to Cranmer Square.


There will be” No water vote” for Canterbury citizens till 2016 or appeal to the environment court. National has sacked the democratically elected representatives and now wants to silence the scientists. We have no community engagement in the Christchurch rebuild and Cera has encroached on the power of the City council.

Private profit comes before public health in the rush to exploit our rivers for dairy conversions and intensive irrigation. There is no specific health representation on the new zone committees set up to allocate our water resources under Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management Act which is being extended till 2016. The zone committees are dominated by farmers and would be irrigators with the odd token environmentalist who is not listened to like the Canterbury Water Rights Trust, which has decided to withdraw from zone committee engagement. The Malvern Hills Protection society has already withdrawn from the Selwyn-Waihora Zone committee. It is a bit like letting the fox decide how many chickens it is going to take from the hen house.

Who is looking after our water quality? I n Canterbury we have no water democracy with the sacking of our elected representatives and the extension of the National government commissioners till 2016 and the taking away of our right to appeal to the environment court under the Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Amendment Bill which was tabled in Parliament t7 September.2012
The Canterbury region will therefore not have elections in 2016 for the Canterbury Regional councilors but instead the government appointed Commissioners will continue to govern till 2016. At a recent select committee hearing about this bill in Christchurch feelings were running high and Nicky Wagner cleared the room of the public.

water activist artist Sam Mahon is asked to leave hearing

We have reason to be concerned about the health of our waterways.
Dunsandel has its water tested since water from the town well became contaminated with faecal bacteria from animals in 2010 and recently 125 Darfield residents were struck down by gastroenteritis after drinking water contaminated with E. coli. High nitrate levels in private and small water supplies in the Ashburton area are putting newborn babies at risk of the potentially fatal disease methemoglobinemia- also known as blue-baby syndrome.
Board medical officer of health Alistair Humphrey says ‘‘Intensified farming now means that a lot of water is contaminated with animal faeces, especially the Waimakariri after heavy rains, and secondly, the chlorination of this heavily contaminated water fell short of levels required to make it safe. The importance of protecting water from source to tap was ‘‘sometimes lost in political imperatives’’.

Mike Joy has attracted the ire of the Prime Minister because his comments about New Zealand’s environmental record were aired on BBC Hardtalk last year and via the New York Times recently. Prime Minister John Key has likened New Zealand’s “100% Pure” brand to a marketing campaign by hamburger giant McDonald’s – and says no-one expects it to be 100 per cent true. “It’s like saying ‘McDonald’s, I’m loving it’ – I’m not sure every moment that someone’s eating McDonald’s they’re loving it . . . it’s the same thing with 100% Pure. It’s got to be taken with a bit of a pinch of salt.” He means “the 100 %pure” is just a marketing slogan with no relationship to our environment. In other words it is just a metaphor to exploit the gullible.

Key made this market driven comment amid controversy over criticism by Massey University scientist Mike Joy of New Zealand’s clean, green brand. The government instead of cleaning up its act has decided not to do reports on the state of the environment any more. We have 2788 threatened species and 96 percent of our pasture rivers don’t meet swimming standards. Joy’s criticisms were printed in the New York Times ahead of a major push by Tourism New Zealand around the Hobbit movies, under a deal negotiated by Key as tourism minister with movie bosses.
Joy told the newspaper the reality of New Zealand’s environmental record came nowhere close to matching the 100% Pure brand. His comments have sparked a backlash from, among others, lobbyist Mark Unsworth, who accused him of being on an ego trip. This scientist doing his job is accused of being on an ego trip when he giving some reality to our market driven pursuit of export dollars at the expense of our environment and public health. The public price of private profit is campybacter and the loss of our pure water and our right to swim and fish in our rivers. Talk about shooting the messenger. Our water allocations both past and future need to factor into the profit equation the damage to the environment and the public right to clean drinking water. If we put a price on water so farmers are accountable for their environmental damage then we might have a return to sustainable farming. The legacy of National would appear to be silencing democratic process and crony capitalism redolent of the excesses of Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle where workers health and safety is sacrificed to wealthy industrialist’s profits. John Key has subverted democracy in favour of economic gain. Ironically it is the public purse that will be expected to pick up the tab for the damage done from their pursuit of private profit at the expense of our environment.

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art workshops for water and mountain lovers

“Due to the outrageus success of the recent Unwin Arts Worshops, Jane Zusters and Colin Monthieth have agreed to run further workshops in painting and mountain photography in November 2nd -5th 2012. These will take place at Unwin Lodge, in the Aoraki National Park. This is an great opportunity to get tuition by two of New Zealands best artists’.
Pat Deavoll on 30 May 2012 – 1:47pm

check out http://alpineclub.org.nz/unwin/arts-workshops

I really enjoyed tutoring the last workshop and have never encountered such a dedicated,hard working group. It must have been the mountain air but we were making art 10 hours a day . Having taken time out of our busy lives and being in the wonderful, upgraded Unwin Hut meant we could totally focus on art making and it was great having the lovely evening meals which catered for meat eaters, vegetarians and the gluten intolerant.
Jane Zusters

Painting by Fiona who said thank you Jane for being a guide on a very rocky part of my journey.

organized New Zealand Alpine Society
Unwin Arts Workshop with Jane Zusters and Colin Monthieth
November 2nd -5th
(arriving on the evening of the 1st)
At the new improved Unwin Lodge, Aoraki (Mt Cook)

The painting workshop by Jane Zusters is suitable for both beginners and experienced painters and the focus will be on the development of each individuals painting practice through a guided encounter with the Aoraki environment. Because of the small numbers tuition can be specific to the individual. Gain inspiration from the awe inspiring environment and the experience an art retreat.
Jane’s focus is on enabling each individual’s creative journey rather than adhering to any particular technique, style or genre. Through creative exercises and a focus on the physical environment, students will be encouraged to use the workshop as a launching pad to fuel their own art exploration. A limited number of places are still available so follow

Arrival time: Meet at Unwin Lodge 6.00pm November 1 for a prepared dinner at 6.30pm.
Departure time: Around 3pm on Nov 5th
Numbers: Max 8
Cost: $750.00 for NZAC members; $850 for non-members.

Applicants may be NZAC members or non-members. The fee for non-members is slightly higher. The course fee includes instruction, accommodation,dinners and transport from Chch if required. It doesn’t include breakfast or lunch. You will be expected to pay a $300 deposit at the time of registration to secure your place on the course. Cancellation insurance is available.

Christchurch-based Jane Zusters is an nationally recognized artist who has facilitated numerous painting workshops, including classes at Artstation, Auckland University Extension Studies and Whanganui Polytechnic. Her philosophy is to make art from the life experiences that she feels passionate about. She is an eclectic and diverse artist who is familiar with many different approaches to painting from conventional landscape to abstraction. She has exhibited widely throughout New Zealand since the ‘70’s and is in most major national public collections including Te Papa Tongarewa, the Christchurch Art Gallery and Southland Museum and Art Gallery. Along with artist Sally Hope she has initiated artists projects with an environmental focus for Artists for Save Our Water. Her recent work was reviewed by Jamie Hanton in Art New Zealand no 139/spring 2011 in an article called “live Nature.” Hainton describes Zusters paintings as “not being part of a straightforward environmental plea about the beauty of the natural world but were strange, compelling and dark. He quotes USA academic Timothy Morton on the paradoxical logic of environmental aesthetics in the atomic age and says that Zusters recent work can be fruitfully explored in a deeply ecological context.

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Nobody owns water. Yeah, right

Nobody owns water. Yeah, right

John Key, anxious to position himself on the side of the angels, has reiterated the phrase “Nobody owns water” many times in the last few weeks. The New Zealand public, stunned at the apparently absurd Maori conceit that water can be “owned”, has subsequently echoed and re-echoed that phrase through all our media outlets.

But how true is Key’s assertion? In fact, there is already within our legal system is a judgement awarding a property right over the water in one of our major hydro lakes to one of the energy companies up for partial sale.

Lake Tekapo, nestled amongst tussocky hills and snowy mountains, has beautiful turquoise water – and the High Court ruled in 2005 that Meridian Energy has what is tantamount to a property right over all that water. This decision was based on the existence of Meridian Energy’s permit to generate with more water than is captured by the lake in a typical year.

Meridian, of course, is still owned by us, the taxpayers. So, if we still own Meridian we still own the lake at one remove. Under these circumstances, it doesn’t seem so important that Meridian got our lake water for nothing. We, the New Zealand public, want electricity, and losing water in Lake Tekapo for that benefit is a hard but maybe pragmatic tradeoff.

If, however, we partially sell Meridian and Genesis (the current “owner” of Lake Tekapo after its transfer from Meridian in 2011), who will “own” Lake Tekapo’s water? Who will “own” the rain and snow which falls in our Alps, and the glacial meltwater that runs into the lake? When we granted Meridian ownership of the water, gratis, did we ever imagine what was then unquestionably for the benefit of the public could, one day, become just another source of revenue for private shareholders? I don’t think we did.

I am old enough to remember a different era. My parents loved the rolling, tawny expanses of the Mackenzie Country, and visited it often to enjoy its clear air and three beautiful lakes, each with its own colour and character. Seeing the hydro-electric developments boring their way inexorably across their favourite landscape was very painful and, latterly, their visits stopped. They recognised the nation’s need for electricity, however, and no doubt paid more than their fair share for the dams through the substantial taxes the comfortably off paid in those days: public sacrifice for public good was a principle they understood and believed in.

Nowadays, however, we dance to a different tune, and water is being commercialised. Having given much of the control of our hydro lakes and rivers to our energy companies, without charge, for the “national good”, how much leverage will remain to maintain the values of our rivers and lakes after their partial sale? Nobody talks about “rivers” and “lakes” – they are simply “water” or “resource” in the national discussion.

While we still own our energy companies, under the SOE Act there remains a clause that can require them to act in the public good. But once partially sold under the Mixed Ownership Model Act, we surrender that authority and the companies will operate for the greater economic benefit of their shareholders.

Suddenly it is obvious that ownership and use of water is a fundamental debate we have never had as a nation. One of the first questions we should be discussing is what exactly “ownership” means, and then, perhaps, to what extent permits to use become degrees of ownership.

For example, the status an activity enjoys under the RMA provides different levels of security to the consent holder. The knock-on effect of an activity being classed as “controlled” rather than “discretionary” can be to almost guarantee use for that activity in perpetuity. Meridian, for example, is currently seeking just such a changed classification to its water use permits in the Waitaki. For all practical purposes, how different is this from a property right?

A further overlay is the facility under the same act to trade water. An irrigator, having secured a permit to use free water, can later sell that right directly to another irrigator, thereby deriving wealth from the transaction and denying public opportunity to reconsider its use or its return to river or lake. Isn’t there a degree of ownership in that situation as well?

And how do Maori ideas of ownership vary from those of Pakeha? As I understand it, ownership of a water body to Maori implies both the authority and a duty to care, kaitiakitanga, rather than an exclusive right for personal gain like the European concept. It is a holistic rather than a reductionist approach, a worldview that might restore some dignity to our rivers and lakes, helping to protect them from commoditisation and overexploitation.

One thing is for sure: the water ownership genie will not go back in the bottle. With luck, the recent recommendation of the Waitangi Tribunal might buy us sufficient time to start to fashion our own, uniquely Aotearoa New Zealand solution. Let’s hope that we can all take part in the debate. It would take time and respect, patience and goodwill, but if we were to confront that challenge and succeed, we would have an achievement to feel proud of as a nation, real kotahitanga.

If, however, by prematurely part-privatising our energy assets we are cheated of this opportunity, we risk again confusing money for wealth and becoming a significantly poorer nation, in so many ways.

Alison Mactavish

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water loving Sam Mahon’s new book

Water loving activist Sam Mahon, who made a bust of Environment Minister Nick Smith out of dairy-cow dung and created a painting of prime minister John Key dead in an alley to protest against National Party Politics, invites you to the launch of his new book .This summer potentially toxic algae (benthic Cyanobacteria ) is appearing in our Canterbury rivers a sign that all is not well in our environment. Sam’s Mahon is writing about the water politics leading to our degraded and ravaged rivers.

Book launch at Rudolf Steiner auditorium: 19 Ombersley Tce, St Martins:
March 2nd 7-9 pm:. Contact: sammahonart@gmail.com Ph 027 220 1691

Sam Mahon’s new book, ‘Franzi and the great terrain robbery’ is a
description of fighting on a broad environmental battlefield, it is a
portrait gallery of those who continue to abstract, partition, and
deliver by stealth the commons into private hands. It is a protest
against the disinheritance of our children.
One of the leading chapters is based on an interview with professor
of law Philip Joseph and his opinion that the Ecan Act is an affront
to natural justice, constitutional law and the Bill of Rights. The
last chapter describes the building of a stone cairn in Cathedral
Square, a monument to our hobbled democracy and dying rivers. It was
built on a sleet-driven June afternoon by three thousand aggrieved
citizens. As Chris Todd quipped; “How can anyone take it away? It has
been crafted by nature, built by the people, explained by a dean and
blessed by a bishop. It is a true work of public art.”

The evening will begin with a brief synopsis of the book followed by
an audience-driven discussion on the topics of:
- art as a political tool
- The tragedy of the commons
- Law and pragmatism
- Economy and the environment

Chair/moderator Jo Kane

Please bring a question with you, and a biscuit in your pocket.

diary cows in Silversream Spring Creek photo Peter Langlands

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Trustpower eyes Rakaia River

The earthquake provides perfect cover to steal the water from the river as everyone is to concerned with the life dramas around them. Wrybills are endangered as the proposed flow regime will lead to more weeds and provide cover for stalking predators.
The Rakaia was the first river in New Zealand to be protected by a Water Conservation Order (WCO) in 1988 – Water Conservation Orders are the equivalent of national parks for rivers.
The Rakaia River is the greatest of the remaining untamed braided rivers. Starting in the Southern Alps it reaches the ocean south of Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora. It is one of the rivers that literally formed the Canterbury plains by moving rocks and stones down from the Southern Alps over millions of years.
The WCO protects minimum flows in the river and draws a line in the sand against irrigators and hydro companies.
And that’s why Trustpower (owned by Infratil) and the National Party Government are determined to break the WCO protecting the Rakaia River to extract water to irrigate up to 140,000 hectares of south Canterbury. There’s money in that river and they want it.
They plan to mine this national park.
As ordinary New Zealanders who like to swim, to hunt and fish and enjoy the outdoors we are confronted with with the giant dairy corporations with all their money, and with the Selwyn District Council and the government in their pocket.
They want to drain the Rakaia for more dairying. Forest and Bird’s Official Information Act requests revealed that as far back as September 2009 central government was meeting with Trustpower and had decided that they needed to change the WCO on the Rakaia if Trustpower’s irrigation scheme using Lake Coleridge for storage was to proceed. Here’s one abstract

Aide Memoire from Gerry Brownlee and David Carter to John Key, 4/9/09:

To accelerate the TrustPower Lake Coleridge proposal, application could be made to MfE to amend or revoke the existing Rakaia WCO.

Officials and Ministers were looking at how to change the WCO so they could get access to the water and lower the minimum flow. The Government was looking for a way forward when an opportunity presented itself in the form of the Canterbury mayors attacking ECAN. When the Government removed the elected councillors at ECAN, they simultaneously undermined WCOs in Canterbury with the same legislation. The earthquake has now provided perfect cover to steal the water from the river.

Flow minimums and flow variability are essential to the health of the river. Minimum flows mean that there is enough habitat for freshwater fish; medium flow events clean out the periphyton that grows on the shingle underwater; and big flows are essential for cleaning out the vegetation that grows on the islands between the braids. This vegetation can act as habitat for stoats and other predators of the birds on the river. If you eliminate the variability by controlling the flow, you eliminate the flora and fauna adapted to that variability.

Nearly three quarters of all the wrybills in the world live on the Rakaia – wrybills are the only bird to have a a right bending beak – to poke under the shingle for food. Black fronted terns are endangered but common on the river . On the 19 december the Key appointed commissioners are having a hearing initiated by Trustpower to vary the conservation order.

Posted in News | Tagged endangered birds, water conservation | 1 Comment

Wai Wurri? – Why worry about water ?

WAI WURRI’ says artist Jane Zusters, ‘Why Worry about Water?’
Where : Tivoli / art/books / Film
Central Oneroa , Waiheke Island
Opening 5 pm saturday December 3, 2011

Bunny Mcdiamid will open the exhibition and Sue Fitchett will read her poetry

Jane Zusters is a major, award-winning contemporary New Zealand artist known for for her dynamic imagery in many media from her early exhibitions in 1975 to the present. Jane, known to many on Waiheke, is based in Christchurch but also spends time at her studio-bach there.

This upcoming exhibit on Tivoli’s Art Wall sees Jane merging art and politics with a focus on her passionate involvement in water issues. Jane has made exhibits and films around the issues of pollution, conservation and corporatisation of water – some of these short films will be screened at Tivoli alongside the exhibit.

In 2010 she journeyed from the Murray River Mouth at Gulwa to the Hume Dam photographing her impressions of this ravaged wonderland as a cautionary tale for our New Zealand rivers.

In Canterbury the Government wants to fast-track irrigation schemes for more intensive farming.
One of the environmental battles being fought, is protecting the Lake Sumner water level from being raised by a dam on the South Branch of the Hurunui River.

In Australia settler culture has created a vision in which the water of the Murray is stored, regulated and allocated for human consumption and economic production. The relationships between people, insects, water, birds, fish, trees and the needs of the river have been discounted. This resulting over-allocation of water and resulting destruction of freshwater ecology is also happening here in New Zealand demanding a rethink of our water water management, law and policy.

Jane says ‘ ‘Wai Wurri’ is a themed exhibition on the subject of water with images of the Murray and Hurunui Rivers. In the 21st century water is shaping up to be one of the major issues facing our community. Water has been called the ‘New Gold’ ‘. Jane has participated in Artists for Save Our Water exhibitions, where artists use art to initiate dialogue around water issues. On Waiheke Island, she says, ‘we collect our own rainwater, so why do we need to worry about water? These images are an invitation to consider a resource we all take for granted. However without water there is no life.’

Liz Greenslade for Tivoli

Posted in News | Tagged hurunui river, water | 1 Comment

Is it ASSET sale or RIVER sale?

Is it ASSET sale or RIVER sale?

Thanks to our forefathers, New Zealand’s rivers have always been owned by ALL New Zealanders.

Many of our greatest rivers are currently controlled by publicly-owned companies, directly impacting the surrounding wetlands, fish and bird environments.

All New Zealanders have contributed to the building of these companies and benefit from renewable energy and public profits.

Now there is a proposal to sell a large part of these companies to private buyers.

WHAT would this MEAN for our RIVERS?

Should New Zealand’s rivers and their waters continue to belong to all New Zealanders, as our forefathers wished?
Are the clean, fast flowing rivers that we inherited a legacy we wish to pass to our children and grandchildren?
In the long-run, is it not safer for the environment and more economic to retain full ownership?
Will investor profit be increasingly prioritized over the well-being of our rivers?
Will this accelerate the ever-increasing loss of so many of our bird and fish species?
Would we ever be able to buy them back if we changed our minds?
Is THIS what we want to DO?

Picnic with Brian Turner

Join us for BYO picnic to reflect on Brian’s thoughts and poems on our rivers

Thursday 24th Nov 12.30pm. Harbourside Gardens, cnr Itchen and Humber St,Oamaru . If wet, at Loan and Merc Building.

There is more information and download options at our website at http://riversnotforsale.wordpress.com

This is a general Appeal for our Rivers from a small core of veterans of 10 years of planning battles to protect the Lower Waitaki River from various new hydro development proposals.

We are deeply concerned that none of our leaders, or would-be leaders, are drawing attention to the link between asset sales of our major generation companies and the risk of associated loss of public control of our rivers with that transaction.

These publicly-owned energy companies have a very big influence on our hydro river catchments. On the Waitaki River, for example, among other things they have legal claim over waters, own big tracts of land, can have interests in irrigation supply networks, and can secure “requiring authority” to purchase land that they need for their schemes.

We don’t think that the the majority of NZers have made these crucial connections and therefore risk making under-informed decisions.

The list of questions below is intended to stimulate people’s thinking about this issue. If you agree that it’s important people think about these, we would be very grateful if you would forward this email generally to friends and lists. Even though we consider this a non-partisan initiative, there should be no dissemination after midnight on Friday 25 November.

Sorry this is all so late, but we did expect these aspects to have emerged as debate issues before now. Besides, if everyone sends it to several friends in the next 36hours then it will reach a massive number of people.

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Nick Smith next Sam Mahon target

Environment Minister Nick Smith formerly immortalised by Sam Mahon – in a cow dung bust, now has a pistol aimed at him by a young girl in a music video called Blood on the Stones. Canterbury artist and campaigner Sam Mahon created the manure sculpture as a protest against water pollution in the region. At the time Mahon said the cow manure was the perfect medium for a sculpture of Smith, who he believed was doing too little to protect New Zealand’s waterways from dairy farm pollution.

We understand there is soon to be a release of the decision on the Mackenzie Country water applications and it is not going to be good for birds and fish and the public’s right to enjoy their rivers so this video by Sam is a timely trigger.


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fracking the blighted future plan

Fracking is a commonly accepted term for hydro-fracturing, a process where water, sand and millions of gallons of toxic chemicals are injected into the earth at high pressure. The aim of hydro-fracturing is to fracture rock formations deep underground in the hopes of liberating natural gas that would be otherwise inaccessible, and to bring it to the surface.

With hydrofracking, a well can produce over a million gallons of waste water that is often laced with highly corrosive salts, carcinogens like benzene and radioactive elements like radium. Other carcinogenic materials can be added to the waste water by the chemicals used in the hydrofracking itself.

Through the processes of fracking, our underground water supplies (artesian wells / aquifers) are being poisoned. This is occurring in every continent on earth for the purpose of extracting more fossil fuels. Large companies are moving in on peoples property (which governments are allowing) and drilling for natural gas via fracking, and this process is destroying local water supplies.

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Christchurch in hot water / water running out

The pond of the Christchurch Model Yacht Club at Victoria Lake, Hagley Park is empty and they don’t know where the water went. Christchurch has been pumping its acquifers dry like there is no tomorrow for years .We act like our braided rivers have no connection with our aquifers and we can exploit them till kingdom come.The recent Canterbury earthquake not only disrupted lives and property, it also altered the movement of water across and under the Canterbury Plains. Groundwater levels spiked, springs started flowing, and the Hororata River changed its course.

We need to examine how the earthquake has affected the region’s rivers and aquifers and review possible potential over allocation of our water from ill conceived grandiose schemes like Central Plains Water. The truth is long-term we maybe can’t afford to play with our environment in this way.

Water supply for our future city needs is a key issue. The importance of securing water supply for Cantabrians in an economic and sustainable manner cannot be underestimated. We are the city that has potentially lost control of our water through recent decisions such as Central Plains water being allocated half the flow of the Waimakariri River to irrigate marginal farmland for yet more dairy conversions.

In Christchurch where water until recently – pure, potable water table has provided a plentiful resource, this has not been considered a high priority.
But times are changing: the value, and indeed the cost, of maintaining clean water can only rise as population pressures grow. Christchurch’s water supply systems were badly damaged during the 4 September, 22 February and 13 June earthquakes, the results of which have meant water restrictions are being imposed for the city for the first time since the drought of 1998.

“This is a citywide issue. If we don’t start conserving water now, with an aim to reduce the traditional summer-time outdoor water demand, total outdoor watering bans will have to be imposed for the city,” Mr Christison, council water and waste manager Water restrictions started on 8 October 2011 this year. We need to reduce the outdoor water consumption across the city this summer, as the damaged water infrastructure cannot support this level of demand over the summer months. The restrictions are necessary to ensure the Council can supply Christchurch residents with the indoor water they need as summer approaches. If residents do not comply with the restrictions from October, watering bans may have to be imposed for the city. Residents will be banned from outdoor watering on Mondays. Odd-numbered street addresses can water their gardens on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Residents with even-numbered street addresses can water their gardens on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.Sprinklers, garden irrigation systems and unattended hoses are not permitted at any time but car washing is permitted on allocated days.

Lets ask some real questions about what is happening to our water. Like our bodies and the blood that pumps through our veins you can’t extract water and preform by pass surgery with dams and diversions and fracking without threatening the health of the whole ecosystem.

These is a rise in earthquakes after oil companies use contemporary hydraulic fracturing methods (fracking) to extract oil, natural gas and coal seam gas and right now the National Government has been issuing permits for this kind of activity in Canterbury. The Spreydon-Heathcote Community Board is seeking an urgent briefing from the Ministry of Economic Development and Environment Canterbury regarding Exploration Permits 52614 and 38264. The Board wishes to hear:
(a) whether the granting of permit 52614 will allow hydraulic fracturing to take place in the Christchurch region.
(b) whether the above authorities will permit hydraulic fracturing to be used as an extraction method in the Christchurch region if Coal Seam Gas is found.
(c) whether the above authorities have considered, or will consider, the increase in seismic activity in the processing of 52614.
(d) what the results are from the exploration of the 38264 permit area and if deep sea drilling is likely to be required to extract petroleum there.
(e) whether MED will be extending 38264 beyond its expiration date on 7/11/2011.

We like to think we control nature but the aftermath of recent earthquakes in Christchurch has shown we don’t.

The earthquake has shown that we cannot take having a good public supply of water for granted. Water is our treasure and we need to plan for the future of our water.

Posted in News | Tagged hotwater/fracking /water shortage/Central Plains Water | 1 Comment

water snapshot

It was great to see the above exhibition that so eloquently brought home to us what has been happening to our rivers.

AQUA VITAE: Claire Earlie Maxwell ( Shown Aigantigne Gallery 2 Jul 2011 – Wed 10 Aug 2011 and Forester Gallery 13 August – 25 September 2011)

Claire Earlie Maxwell says “Acqua Vitae presents South Island coastal rivers as women whose waters sustain a nation. Beside each work is a jug of water taken from the river represented. The viewer is invited to look at the image and then at the water from the river it represents. The unappetizing brew helps the artist to stir up the debate of river pollution and what needs to be done about it.

On one side of the argument are agribusiness and hydro-electric generation companies for whom the water is liquid gold. On the other side are naturalists, fishing communities and those who are passionate about our beautiful landscape and are keen to keep the rivers flowing strongly with little or no pollution. Both groups are having difficulties in coming to terms with each others’ viewpoint. There is no doubt, however, that without
some kind of intervention, our New Zealand rivers are in jeopardy.

My view is that the rivers belong to and are in the care of the nation. If awareness can be raised on the plight of our rivers, then it is up to us as New Zealanders to make the rules about how rivers are to be managed.

We must think like a river. Only then will we be able to look after ourselves and our rivers properly.
To this end, each river artwork in this exhibition is represented by a woman. The woman is the river.
Go speak to her and see how you can help her to survive.
Drink her water, if you dare!”

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water artists in Aussi show

Artists for save our water artists Ramonda Te Maiharoa and Jane Zusters exhibition The Murray River matters opened the first April at the Newcastle University Gallery, GS Building, University Drive,Callaghan NSW 2308.The University Gallery is situated in a purpose built, award winning building designed in 1995 by Peter Stutchbury and was an ideal venue for the thought this provoking imagery . Digital montage artist Ramonda Te Maiharoa has lived in Australia for 40 years but has a crib at Moeraki where she meet Canterbury artist Jane Zusters in 2005. She understands how precious water is from having experienced firsthand water shortages in Brisbane and participated in he awa reo; rivertalk ,as did Jane.

In 2010 Ramonda Te Maiharoa and Jane Zusters journeyed from the Murray river mouth at Goolwa to the Hume Dam photographing their impressions of this ravaged wonderland as a cautionary tale facing their Canterbury rivers, which the NZ government wants to fast track irrigation schemes for more intensive farming.

water protesters Christchurch 2010

Settler culture has created a vision in which the water of the Murray has been stored, regulated and allocated for human consumption and economic production. The relationships between people, water, clay, reeds, insects yabbies, birds, grasses, trees and the needs of the river have been discounted. The resulting over allocation of water and resulting destruction of freshwater ecology demands a rethink water management, law and policy.New Zealand is proposing to introduce the water market model that has been so problematic in Australia. How do you trade water that is not there or is miles away from where it has been sold.

the Murray River from the air

The Murray Matters

How to explain that what is so beautiful is not acceptable? Nobody listens to angry people. The Murray’s dying appearance presents this conundrum; if the representation is ugly nobody wants to look. If the representation shows it’s beauty the viewer sees it’s pretty and understands it as such.
These works are an original and beautiful solution to this problem. They are unsettling; something is wrong, but the images please and nobody’s angry. They are a visual plea to investigate what is going on.
These are composite images; all truthful in their selected components; [as are the media’s selection of examples to support editorial positions]. The final images here [unlike the media] are metaphorically truthful but physically impossible; their recombination conveying the Murray’s devastation poetically and with gentle irony but without the imposition of a political agenda. These images speak for the Murray and in their paradoxical reconstructions, the predicament of human habitation and its depredations.

As in de Chirico’s paintings these images are ‘real” to the eye but closer inspection shows the improbability of the representation; as in 8 where the lack of water makes a mockery of the ferry sign [you can walk across the river]; the gasping fish is huge [a real but concrete one; no fish swim here]; the bridge high overhead and the buildings of Tocumwal right up to the rivers side. Should the river flow the buildings will drown. Should the river not flow: it is dead; the bridge redundant. The conflicting requirements of human and environment made concrete.

These images meanings are layered. At first the scenic beauty absorbs until the realisation of the impossibility of its physical nature dawns, forcing a re-reading. Within this individual components work as a mnemonic to change the meaning of the whole as in the pivoting irrigation atop the drained river [3] and in notices such as “Give Way To Stock” where there is no stock, no water and disconsolate pelicans. Look too at “Haynes Butchery” shop astride the land emerging from the mouth of the Murray [1]. Such devices are not just poetic irony; they point to conflicting interests as in 5 where the lock holds water the river, the irrigators, the birds and the trees need.

Beware of taking what you see for granted here; some aspects are subtle and conveyed as much by the visual finish of the image as in the recombination of parts. Some aspects are softly “watercolour” offering a romantic tinge; some so much so the effect is “ghostly” as in the sky of approaching history [1] where, as the water recedes the trees will move in: in turn dying in the dry – or in the water itself [4]. Also note that in others the treatment is hard edge; a “supereality” close to the photorealism of 1970’s painters such as Ralf Goings and Richard Estes in which the painters made mundane urban scenes beautiful with their precise, detailed “cleaned up” idealisations. Ramonda Te Maiharoa uses this finish to reveal how the landscape is itself “idealised” – in 7 which is bled of water through dams to feed a manmade “water world” for tourists and suburban development: an environment whose leached foreground [and accusatory expressions of the dogs] demonstrate.
Look, appreciate and consider the implications.

Venetia Sieveking

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Hurunui Water Matters exhibition earthquake casualty

Our latest artists for save our water exhibition show Hurunui Water Matters is no more and will not be opening at Crossroads Gallery on the 16th march. Everyone got out of the building safely but all the artwork has been lost with the collapsing ceiling.

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SAVE LAKE SUMNER email : complaint@hurunui.govt.nz

Below is a copy of our new Artists for save our water leaflet urging the public to email their views on the proposed irrigation schemes affecting The Hurunui River and Lake Sumner to complaint@hurunui.govt.nz

Text above reads as;
The Hurunui farmers’ water wish-list, proposing more intensive irrigation, could mean the destruction of natural environments that many of us love and want to remain as they are. Once you dam a wild river it is destroyed forever.
We do not want Lake Sumner to look like Lake Monowai, raised 2.4 metres in 1920 and is still ringed with dead trees.

The new undemocratic Zone committee meetings are being pushed through double quick. The John Key appointed Commissioners who replaced our elected Environment Canterbury representatives, want to “to stitch up water by July” so they have a plan to be notified by first of October. They want the Waiau flow and allocation to be decided by February and the Hurunui flow and allocation by March.

Email : complaint@hurunui.govt.nz

Report from Hurunui Zone Committee 31/1/11
In their pre meeting briefing, Lynda Weastell-Murchison, Environment Canterbury’s Principal Consents and Planning Officer, advised the Hurunui Zone Committee that the Zonal Committee can find their “own integrated solution” and that if the law won’t let us at the moment so we can find another way, legislative change”. John Key set this legislative precedence when our elected Environment Canterbury representatives were sacked. Professor Philip Joseph, School of Law, University of Canterbury said the Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Act, which was passed under urgency breaches several principles of law, is “constitutionally repugnant”, contains “elements of subterfuge” and is a “constitutional affront” since we have lost our right of recourse to the Environment Court.

On the table are:
- Having a dam at Lake Sumner and a 75 metre dam at the south branch of the Hurunui
- Ngai Tahu Property proposes raising the Lake level 2.35 metres and an in-canal hydro at Balmoral.
- Transferring water from the Hurunui River by pumping 70 metres to a canal and tunnel through to the upper Waitohoi River to be stored in a 100 metre dam near Seven Hills
- Pumping water from the Waiau River from a canal to a reservoir at Grampians or to a large storage in the upper Pahau
- A dam and reservoir on the Mandamus River with water pumped from the Hurunui River
- A new race to supply Waiau river water to the Balmoral Forest. Ngai Tahu received this forest in their Treaty Settlement and now wishes to clear fell and convert to dairy.
- Pumping water from the Waiau River to a reservoir at Countess Stream.


Two further confidential options were presented to the committee that the public was excluded from hearing about.
The Zone Committee is concerned that Hanmer Basin is missing out on the economic benefit of having its river “managed”. Mayor Winton Dalley made the point that “if the add-on costs of weed and predator control were too great a partnership with the greater community would be needed.” In other words they want you and me to pay for their proposed, grandiose despoiling of our pristine wild rivers. David Bedford pointed out that missing from the list was having a good public supply of water and that the Hurunui zone committee does not have the science or costings to make these decisions at this stage.


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Hurunui Water Matters Exhibition Invitation

just to let you know about our next show
Hurunui Water Matters
opening 2pm Sunday 20th February 2011


21st to 26th February
Sun 2-5pm:Mon-Sat:noon-5pm
The Studio, first floor 84 Lichfield St,
(Opposite the bus terminal)
Christchurch, NZ.

The Hurunui farmers’ water wish-list, proposing more intensive irrigation, could mean the destruction of natural environments that many of us love and want to remain as they are. Once you dam a wild river it is destroyed forever.

We do not want Lake Sumner to look like Lake Monowai, raised 2.4 metres in 1920 and still ringed with dead trees.

We will be exhibiting artwork by a variety of artists about the Hurunui River and Lake Sumner area.

2-5 pm Sunday, Sunday 20th February 2011
Featuring various brief presentations by Hugh Canard, Malcom Snowden, Jenny Webster-Brown and others


Picture 1

Creative Communities contributed towards photographic printing
wine and cheese courtesy the artists

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water nightmare for Hurunui.

The farmers’ water wish list.


It is Canterbury’s new George Orwellian nightmare. It is the last day of january 2011 and a group of undemocratically appointed, mostly middle aged white men, called a zone committee, are meeting in Amberley to divi up the water of the Hurunui-Waiau catchment, meanwhile planning on paying lip service to community involvement about their deliberations, after the fact. On the wall of the meeting room is a sign proclaiming “Hurunui Wellness, In Hurunui, we live the lives the rest of the world would love to live.”

These meetings have to be pushed through double quick as the John Key appointed Commissioners who overthrew the elected Environment Canterbury representatives, want to “to stitch up water by July” so they have a plan to be notified by first of October. The Waiau flow and allocation has to be decided by February and the Hurunui flow and allocation by March. Never mind that the committee does not have the science or costings to make these decisions.

In their pre meeting briefing Lynda Weastell-Murchison,of Environment Canterbury’s Principal Consents and Planning Officer, advises the group that the zonal committee can find their “own integrated solution’ and that “if the law wont let us at the moment so we can find another way, legislative change.”

The tangata whenua belief that the water of two rivers should not be mixed can be got around. Makarini Rupene, the Ngai Tahu representative says of mixing the water of two rivers, “It’s not a fatal flaw. It can be managed”. To his credit he also says “It is the responsibility of those using the water to include the cost of filtering the water, the pollution”.

Mike Hodgen cannot see why water users should pay for predator and weed control, as he does not understand that when the river’s flow is controlled weeds proliferate and the breeding birds cannot see their predators.

These guys have an agenda and it is replumb the environment with dams and weirs to make farming more profitable. On the 31 January 2011 at what was termed an “ordinary meeting” concerned members of the public were twice excluded so that commercially sensitive material could be discussed in private.

On the table are having a weir at Lake Sumner and a 75 metre dam at the south branch of the Hurunui and Ngai Tahu Property’s option proposing in-canal hydro at Balmoral. They propose transferring water from the Hurunui River by pumping 70m to a canal and tunnel through to the upper Waitohoi River to be stored in a 100 m dam near Seven Hills.


They want to pump water from the Waiau River from a canal to a reservoir at Grampians or to a large storage in the upper Pahau.

They are considering a dam and reservoir on the Mandamus River with water pumped from the Hurunui River.

They want to construct a new race to supply Waiau river water to the existing Balmoral Forest. Ngai Tahu received this forest in their Treaty Settlement and now wishes to clear fell and convert to dairy.

They are considering pumping water from the Waiau River to a reservoir at Countless Stream.

Two further confidential options have been presented to the committee that the public was excluded from hearing about.

The group is concerned that Hanmer Basin is missing out on the economic benefit of having its river “managed”.

Lynda Weastell-Murchison advises the group shortly before the public is excluded once more “You will need to outline what the costs will be to the district if nothing goes ahead”.

Winton Dalley made the point that “if the add on costs were too great they would need a partnership with the greater community”. In other words they want you and I to pay for their proposed, grandiose despoiling of our pristine wild rivers. It is telling that David Bedford pointed out that missing from the list was having a good public supply of water.

The situation with the Hurunui zone committee is worrying enough but there are 9 other zone water management committees across Canterbury and they are all basically doing the same thing. Water management really means exploring options for more irrigation and exploiting every possible waterway (above and below ground) to achieve this.

The environmental/ecosystem/public health aspects of water management are simply a sop to the wider public and if implementation of them becomes uneconomical, the zone committees will find ways around implementing them – possibly by suggesting changes to the NRRP (Natural Resources Regional Plan) which has been 10 years in the making and almost completed.

At the Hurunui zone committee meeting, it was clear that the main goal of the committee is to get as much water out of rivers for irrigation and storage options and as soon as possible but the literature the CWMS (Canterbury Water Management Strategy) releases, reads quite differently.

From January 31 2011 update newsletter:
‘The committees already know what they need to achieve – this is defined by the targets. The targets have ten broad areas and set goals for the coming five years, as well as setting milestones in 10 years and 30 years.


The targets cover:
- Ecosystem health and biodiversity
- Braided rivers and natural character
- Kaitiakitanga
- Drinking water
- Recreational use and amenity opportunities
- Water-use efficiency
- Irrigated land area
- Energy security and efficiency
- Regional and national economies
- Environmental limits

To achieve these targets a collaborative and consensus-based approach is needed. We also need time for the right planning tools to be put in place to allow future decisions on how water is managed.’

Interestingly, irrigation comes quite low on the list of targets, but 95% of the meeting on January 31 2011 focused on the best economic way to get water for irrigation; the other targets seemed to be merely window dressing.

Lynda Weastell-Murchison, revealed a staggeringly short time frame for the Hurunui zone committee to implement its water plan, yet in the paragraph above the last sentence reads –‘ We also need time for the right planning tools to be put in place to allow future decisions on how water is managed.’

There has obviously been a decree from on high to get things done so the future of the Hurunui basin is being determined by a bunch of irrigation at all costs despite the environmental consequences, fanatics. Decisions are being made behind closed doors, in haste by people ill equipped to deal with the complex environmental situations. What we saw at the Hurunui zone committee are self-serving men plotting, lets remake the water environment to suit ourselves and stuff the environmental consequences. The farmers’ water wish list will be a nightmare for those of us who wish to preserve Canterbury’s last wild river .



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bird deaths will be on on Nick Smith’s head

Sam Mahon and Jane Zusters two of the Artists for save our water artists are in the Artists as Activists show at the Academy of Fine Arts showing in Wellington till September 12.


Sam Mahon has made a sculpture of Environment Minister Nick Smith’s head from cow dung and filled with the skeletons of birds to protest about the impact dairy farming and intensive development is having on the environment.The head opens up when a 50-cent or $2 coin is dropped in its base, and a dawn chorus is played, but the birds in the sculpture are skeletons.
“Money comes before the environment the sacking of the elected Environment Canterbury regional councillors and the weakening of water conservation orders in Canterbury would mean the region’s most pristine rivers would lose some of their protections.As a result, birds such as the endangered black-fronted tern, which lived on those rivers, would lose their habitat’.says Canterbury sculptor Sam Mahon.He wanted to highlight the impact farming was having on his local environment, where nitrate levels in the water were higher than was considered safe for consumption and agricultural industries placed a heavy demand on water supplies.
Last year, the simpler version of his sculpture sold on Trade Me for more than $3000.


Artist Jane Zusters spoke at the launch of Forest and Birds Save the Mackenzie CountryCampaign which was hosted by the Academy of Fine Arts.
“Today I want to talk a little bit about my work Crown. These are real letters sent by members of Parliament in response to our group Artists for save our water. We ‘ve been using art to make the public aware of the proposed intensification of farming in the Mackenzie country. The video for love of the Mackenzie Country was used to start the Mackenzie Guardians presentation at the water hearings at Environment Canterbury and then sent to various members of parliament. Three years ago most New Zealanders weren’t aware of applications to take millions of cubic meters of water from high country rivers to irrigate more than 27,000 hectares of the Mackenzie Country.

Taking this water for irrigation will severely affect the wetlands THE vegetation, THE SOIL, THE flora, fauna, fish and birdlife, AND DESTROY THIS UNIQUE LANDSCAPE. There are internationally significant bird habitats adjacent to these proposed irrigation sites. Eight species of threatened birds are here including the kaki or black stilt. Along with the destruction of wetlands, natural habitats and flow of numerous high country rivers and streams. we know from our experience of this type of intensive farming there will be many potential adverse effects from the farm nutrient runoff.
The value of high country tourism is estimated at $4 billion a year so why would we kill the goose that lays this golden egg.

To grant these water rights in this dry land is not in our long-term social, economic and cultural interests. The Mackenzie Country is more valuable to us long-term as a storehouse of our unique endangered plants and wildlife and possible world heritage site. I believe we need to balance the proposed economic development against the damage to the existing envirionment and the loss of happiness of birds and fish and us all.

We must preserve the Mackenzie Country for future generations otherwise our children will inherit the weeds and dried up rivers whose birds have gone.We need to have a vision for the basin. There should be a moratorium on development until that is sorted.


Close up of the video for Love of the Mackenzie Country playing as part of Zusters’ work Crown

The exhibition, Artists as Activists, opened 20 August at the Academy of Fine Arts Gallery, Queens Wharf, Wellington and runs until September 12.

It also features works from artists including Michael Smither, Grahame Sydney and poet Brian Turner.

Picture 5Picture 6

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Join the Water Walk

Artists for save our water will be supporting this coming event so if you are an artist and you would like to be involved in some way get in touch.
email/ info@artistsforsaveourwater.co.nz
Water Walk
Waimakariri Wai/Water Walk – From the Alps to the Ocean

Sunday 19 to Sunday 26 September 2010


Our Water Our Vote – Too Precious to Lose !


The Waimakariri Wai/Water journey celebrates one of Canterbury’s great braided rivers, the Waimakariri. It is a call to action to protect the Waimakariri as a source of Christchurch’s drinking water, as habitat for indigenous plants and wildlife and a focus for recreation. The river is central to the Coast to Coast multi sport adventure race, for tramping, fishing, picnicking, boating, and closer to its mouth for yachting, water skiing and white-baiting.

To celebrate the importance of all Canterbury’s natural waters a diverse group of 10-12 committed individuals will journey the length of the Waimakariri River from its source to the sea in September. Their spring time journey will start in the river’s headwaters, high in Arthur’s Pass National Park where snow melt from the mountains of the Southern Alps nourishes the river. Over the next seven –eight days they will mainly walk but also raft, kayak, cycle, and boat the river to near its mouth at Brooklands Lagoon.

Along the way they will be joined by rafters, kayakers, fishermen, jet boaters and other river users. They will visit several local schools, share stories with local residents and learn more of the many ways in which people appreciate and enjoy the Waimakariri.

Agribusiness is targeting the lands between the Waimakariri and the Rakaia rivers for a massive expansion in dairying. Fonterra wants a new milk processing plant at Darfield to process another 2.2 million litres of milk each day while Synlait and its proposed 51 % stake Chinese shareholder Bright Dairy Ltd want to double production at Synlait’s Dunsandel plant.

The Waimakariri Irrigation scheme already takes 11 cumecs for irrigation on the river’s north bank. Central Plains Water Ltd wants to take another 25 cumecs from the river for its massive canal and irrigation scheme. Appeals against this have been lodged with the Environment Court and may be heard later this year.

While focusing on the Waimakariri, the journey will highlight the need to cherish and respect all of Canterbury’s rivers, lakes, aquifers and lowland streams. Proposed think big irrigation schemes, more dairying and intensive land use across thousands of hectares and in areas never before contemplated such as the Mackenzie Basin risks serious depletion of our rivers, pushing nitrate levels in groundwater well above health standards for drinking water, and further pollution and harm to lowland streams.

If you care about the wellbeing of our waterways, who controls and uses our water, and Cantabrians being denied the right to vote in regional council elections until at least 2013 then please join us on the river journey or in the Christchurch section of the Waimakariri Wai/Water Walk from the sea to the city.

Please join us for the public part of the walk on Sunday 26 September from Spencer Park to New Brighton Pier (more details to come).

The event is being organised by Our Water Our Vote – a group of Canterbury citizens committed to the restoration of regional democracy and the protection of the region’s rivers, lakes, aquifers, and streams.

A detailed timetable for this event will be published in the near future.

For more information please contact:

Rosalie Snoyink – ph 03 3182632

Eugenie Sage – ph 021 1553937 or 03 329 3177

Janette Kear – ph 03 352 5782

Watch out for the postcard we just produced for our water our vote about the cairn erected in Christchurch’s Square


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artists as political activists

Jane Zusters one of the of Artists for save our water will be showing her art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wellington as part of the Artists as Political Activists 21st August till 12th September

we are not islands

The work Crown and the video for love of the Mackenzie Country are Jane Zusters’ response to proposed water extractions to intensively farm 28,000 acres of land in the Mackenzie country. The letters are real and from politicians who were sent the video that plays along with the painting.
See www.mackenzieguardians.co.nz
Our pursuit of gross national product at the expense of the environment is not leading to gross national happiness for our rivers and lakes and the birds and the fish. We promote economic activity on the presumption that the social benefits outweigh whatever damage it might cause. However the resulting ecological damage is surpassing our ability to assimilate damage and degrading the ecological integrity of our environment. I believe we need to implement a wholly different structure for environmental decision-making that prioritizes sustainability and maintains the integrity of the ecological systems that we depend on rather than economic growth.

“Artists as Activists”, the Academy’s showcase for 2010 are: Brian Turner, Sam Mahon, Grahame Sydney, Dean Buchanan, Michael Smither, Nick Dryden, Ian Hamlin, Don Binney and Jane Zusters
NZ Academy of Fine Arts
1 Queens Wharf
Ph 04 383 584

Forest & Bird will be launching their ‘Save the McKenzie’ campaign at a
lunchtime opening also on 20 August
The show opens to the public at 10 am on the 21st with an artists discussion (over coffee) about their activism and art.

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pooh cake for NZ PM John Key

DSCN2013The police would not allow demonstrators to present John Key with a cake in the shape of a cow pooh at the occasion of Nicky Wagner celebrating the opening of her new office. The guest of (dis)honour was the PM John Key and the protesters who included the young man who jumped on the PM’s car and now has a $7000 fine, wanted John Key to know just how concerned we are about his actions on water and taking away our local body Environmental Canterbury vote. One of the demonstrators had come all the way from Waimate where her artesian well has been poisoned with e coli by nearby intensive dairy farming.

Where: Nicky Wagner’s Office, 222 Bealey Ave (Corner of Bealey and Madras St) Christchurch, NZ
Date: Thursday, 1st of July

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artists support our water our vote


It was like being back in the 70’s as hundreds of Christchurch citizens, enraged at loosing their vote, heckled those arriving at a National Party function on the last day in office of the sacked Environment Canterbury representatives. The police were out in force and one would be water bomber was arrested.

Very few of the water interest groups of Canterbury took up the invitation of the National Party Canterbury / Westland Policy committee and paid $10 for nibbles with a cash bar available to hear “Canterbury water – a collaborative approach” chaired by Mayor Bob Parker with the other panelists being the Hon Dr Nick Smith- Minister for the Environment, Murray Rogers – Water Rights Trust, Peter Townsend – CEO , Mark Solomon – Chair, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, David Horn – director Canterbury Water.
The crowd screamed “sack Bob” and “we can’t drink money”.

The Government has dissolved the elected council of Environment Canterbury and replaced it with unelected commissioners. It has decided that there will be no elections as otherwise required by the Local Elections Act for ECan later this year. Instead until 2013, the region’s water will remain under the control of what has been termed the Bazley gang” National ’s own “lets have some dams” yes puppets. The credentials of the commissioners are weighted for irrigation and against the environment and ordinary citizens. For instance Tom Lambie is a chairman of the Opuha Dam partnership and Rex Williams is an engineer and businessman in cement production.They have the credentials to make dams.

The catalyst for all this was a review by Wyatt Creech that damned the elected council. Creech is a big player in the dairy industry (amongst other interests, he, along with John Key at one point, and other National figures are behind the Dairy Investment Fund which owns Open Country Cheese).

The report contains accusations that the ECan councillors are too worried about ’science’ and says their decisions are “science led rather than science informed”, which is basically equivalent to saying that ECan should turn a blind eye to the facts when they’re inconvenient for dairy interests. It goes on to say “large numbers of staff are “green” in orientation”, which means they are sin of sin, putting the environment before the interests of farmers hell bent on sucking our rivers dry for irrigation. The Rakaia River closed up at the mouth about 10 days ago. Virtually unprecedented. People at Rakaia Huts say low flows are causing back-up flooding. Also unheard of.

At the end of the day, the dairy industry, which has deep connections with National, just wants more water allocated for dairy farming. They don’t care that this is unsustainable.
Yesterday agriculture Minister David Carter, who has a farm in the Hurunui and stands to benefit from fast tracking irrigation in the Hurunui, threatened other councils who do not co-operate with National party agendas of water for farmers and bugger the environment . He has finally said it: ECan was sacked because it didn’t “co-operate” with farmers and give them all the water they wanted. And other councils had better do what they are told, or they too will be sacked:

Speaking at the Irrigation New Zealand conference in Christchurch yesterday, Carter said the Government had “no option” but to sack the councillors.
“We had to act here in Canterbury because the situation was untenable if we are going to seriously make progress in delivering this irrigation,” he said. “I would have thought what happened recently with Environment Canterbury would be a signal to all regional councils to work a bit more constructively with their farmer stakeholders.”

The protest began on the steps of Ecan where the crowd was addressed by Labour MP Brendon Burns, Greens MP Kevin Hague, Yani Johanson and sacked ECAN councillor Jane Demeter. The protest then moved 20 metres to the Copthorne Hotel where the crowd roared and hissed as participants arrived, sharing their rage at the loss of the democratic process in Canterbury.


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the water politics behind our watershow

Picture 10


Government torpedoes own flagship water reform group

Five leading environmental and outdoor recreation groups said today that the Government legislation on water conservation orders passed yesterday under urgency has sent a torpedo into the Government-backed national forum working on water management reform.

The groups said the Government’s legislation to replace Environment Canterbury includes provisions that reduce the statutory protection of iconic rivers, opening them up for dams and irrigation use.

The water bodies immediately affected are the Rakaia, Rangitata and Ahuriri Rivers and Lakes Coleridge and Ellesmere, along with the application for protection of the Hurunui River, which was awaiting a hearing in the Environment Court.

The five groups said this change was pushed through parliament without any warning or consultation with the Land and Water Forum, which the Government set up last year to work on water management reforms that would be good for the economy and the environment.

“The Land and Water Forum has been the best environmental and governance initiative of this Government to date, but that is now in jeopardy following this major breach of trust from the Government,” Environmental Defence Society (EDS) chair Gary Taylor said.

The five groups – EDS, Ecologic, Fish & Game, Whitewater NZ and Forest & Bird – said it is hard to see how the forum can continue as a collaborative and trusting process after yesterday’s law change.

“Changing the rules for water conservation orders was not needed to fix any problems at Environment Canterbury. This Bill was used as cover to smuggle in a change in the law equivalent to allowing mining in national parks,” Ecologic executive director Guy Salmon said.

Fish & Game chief executive Bryce Johnson said: “A water conservation order is a national park for a river – there are only 15 in existence, but they provide bottom-line protection to just a few of our most precious and iconic wild waterways.”

Whitewater NZ patron Hugh Canard said: “Conservation orders are a national-level protection tool – just like national parks – and so it is utterly wrong to change their protection through a law about one region. Is the Government really saying that not one of our wild rivers is worth protecting?”

Forest & Bird general manager Mike Britton said: “The changes to the water conservation orders are as significant as the Schedule 4 mining issue – and to make it even worse the law has been changed with no consultation and no Select Committee process at all.”

“The new law is a giant kick in the guts for the thousands of Kiwi hunters and anglers who have collectively invested millions of dollars through the Fish & Game Council and other environment groups in securing protection for the select few rivers and lakes with conservation orders,” said Bryce Johnson.

“I would like to know whether industry groups – with whom we have worked so well within the forum – have been lobbying behind the forum’s back, despite the Ministers’ directive that that was not to happen. Or has the Government simply taken upon itself to leave the forum high and dry?”

Mike Britton said: “Forest & Bird considers the forum to be the sole good initiative of this Government on conservation, but its actions yesterday in unilaterally gutting our main river protection law seeks to destroy the only progress that was being made to protect our unique natural environment.”

The Land and Water Forum was established in 2009 by the Government to allow the three key sectors with an interest in water management – commercial, public and iwi – to reach consensus on reforms. It is funded by the Government and based on the Scandinavian model of ‘collaborative governance’ promoted by the National Party.

“The Government cannot ask stakeholders to behave in a collaborative manner unless it is prepared to behave in the same way itself,” said Guy Salmon.


Gary Taylor, Environmental Defence Society chair: 021 895-896 or 09 810-9594
Guy Salmon, Ecologic executive director: 021 548-336
Bryce Johnson, Fish & Game NZ CEO: 021 397-897
Hugh Canard, Whitewater NZ patron: 03 332-3414
Mike Britton, Forest & Bird general manager: 021 783-776

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Hurunui River Journey 24 to 28 march 2010

Ki Uta Ki Tai
(from the mountains to the sea)
1 February 2010

“We will be boating the Hurunui from Loch Katrine and Lake Sumner, spending two nights camping on the way out to the sea. We wish to explore the river as a whole.
Having visited the source and the main divide to gather water, five or six of us will journey on a raft. Anyone is welcome to join us for all or part of the journey in whatever craft they can handle..or in whatever way they see possible. We wish to meet people along the way wherever the river is special to them.
.. Edward and Penelope Snowdon.

Lake Sumner and the Hurunui river is the last East Coast glacial lake and river system in this country which is running free and undeveloped. All of our other East Coast glacial lakes have controlled outlets. Lake Sumner and the Hurunui have had had many development proposals over the years – there could have been a major highway across the alps, or the railroad, and there have been several schemes to dam it.
The Hurunui has wriggled its way out of all of these. Currently there are plans afoot to raise the lake and dam the north and south branches of the river, for intensive irrigation.

We wish to make a feature documentary telling the story of Lake Sumner and the Hurunui River, and the people of the river.

This film will include local people and places along the Hurunui. The film will work with the local communities who connect in a multitude of ways with the lakes, river and surroundings.It will be screened at local halls, pubs, churches, along the river bank and in cinemas in Rangiora, Kaikoura and Christchurch. It will be available for screening use for people working on environmental issues. Part of this film may also be included in a national feature film about water, which will be distributed and screened throughout New Zealand and the world.

Kathleen Gallagher and Mike Coughlan, Earth Whisperers Papatuanuku, and Healing Journeys
Wick Candle Film
www.wickcandle.co.nz, doygalpress@yahoo.com Ph 0064 3 3329192

Or contact Edward Snowdon and Penelope Snowdon-Lait
penslait@gmail.com Ph 0064 3 3849 768

Itinerary; Journey from mountains to the sea.

Wednesday 24th March

Water gathering at source of Hurunui, Harpers Pass.

Thursday 25th

Camp for night at Katrine

Friday 26th

Depart in morning; Rafting/ boating down Lake Sumner
Recognition / karakia for Sumner / Hurunui outlet
Running river down to Dozy stream above Maori gully
Camp with river runners and supporters.

Saturday 27th

Meeting with anglers, canoists and bug people
Down river travel, through Maori gully.
Camp; Hurunui camp ground, state highway 7 beside Culverden road bridge
Sunday 28th
Down river to mouth. Ngai Tahu welcome, Hurunui camp ground 2 pm.

the Hurunui River needs an angel to protect it from the National Governmenthurunui 1jpg

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Jamie Hanton reviews He awa reo – rivertalk

He awa reo – River Talk – Artists for Save our Water
At CoCA 25th November – 12th December 2009
Reviewed by Jamie Hanton

Looking out Ramonda Te Maiharoa’s digital doors to the Waimakariri River and seeing the spectre of dairy farming beside the untouched scene undoubtedly prompts those with any interest in their land to begin re-evaluating their attitude to the precarious status of the region’s natural resources. The clear as crystal montage and the rest of the work in He awa reo gives a glimpse of a possible future and are a catalyst for questions to be asked of those in positions of power and of citizen bystanders.Doors for Jane12inches wide 300 ppi

‘Protest art’ carries a rather loose definition, as much for its range of media as its historically vast number of messages. Crucially, The River Talk Artists capture a number of voices and perceptions with an eclectic group show that comprises an array of disciplines. Work from Canterbury school children has also been included creating a truly representative show.

At its most successful, an exhibition of a dissenting nature can crystallise information and still remain impassioned. Better yet, they can provide a forum for voices that could potentially go unheard. The gurgling and rushing Waimakariri, while voluble, often goes unnoticed in the din of a debate. At times it needs those with oesophagi to speak for it. He awa reo amplifies the rumble of the river; with the hope that in the future the remark, “The people don’t even know it’s being given away” in Jane Zusters’ video work cannot be uttered.

Despite the range and variety of media there is a unified message and common thematic dichotomy running throughout the show, simply put, what we have now and what we will have should the Central Water Scheme go ahead. Linda James’ Waterfall series has its aesthetic roots in Van der Velden’s Otira Gorge works, as well as a geographical connection, the Waimakiriri begins its journey above the plains in the Otira Gorge. It is a sign that attitudes to the primacy and beauty of water as a vital part of Aotearoa have persisted over the course a century. Though in place of Van der Velden’s romantic darkness is joyous illumination, sun cast across the scene. Sally Hope’s small oil canvasses also revel in the light, as flecks of dusky pinks and murky khaki are reflected in the river; a kaleidoscope of perspectives. Her series presents a collection of rivers emphasising the plurality of the river, its many different things to many people. At once a place of recreation, of beauty and a habitat to all manner of creatures. Sam Mahon’s George and Irene Mura Schroder’s Threatened Mudfish make the living connection explicit. The nationally endangered Canterbury Mudfish, whose habitats have been destroyed as waterways have disappeared, becomes a tangible symbol of what may be lost if the proposed scheme goes ahead.P1010019

With irrigation comes the threat of a withering river flow; diametrically opposed is Jane Zuster’s invigorating Watertalk in which blueness and all its connotations are celebrated, a symbol of purity, hydration but also deep melancholy. Indeed, the thought of such deprivation is emotionally charged, Nigel Brown’s black singleted farmer is a portrait of conflicted sentiments as he stands in front of the land, looking away, arms folded in a practiced staunchness. Brown continues to successfully question and subvert long held symbols of kiwi-ness. The historic backbone of the New Zealand export market, farmers have in part the status of economically proclaimed guardians of the land, and potential executors of its Will. That their position in the debate is ultimately torn is spelled out in Brown’s We are water which states ‘if we abuse rivers, we abuse ourselves’ thus tying together the river’s life-giving properties and its living and thriving properties as a natural entity in and of itself. P1010133
Emphasising this point is Ben Woollcombe’s delicate watercolour Finding her way, Waimakiriri; an illustration of the will of the river, scything gracefully through the land. Irene Mura Schroder’s ceramic works capture a glorious wetness unusual for their medium, and the direct juxtaposition of Margaret Ryley’s Fragments of a river, a porcelain and stoneware work that exudes a more familiar arid texture, is striking.

Becky Turrell’s Path of Light stretches from one end of the gallery to another, a winding ochre track of vinyl that leads to Albert McCarthy’s Guardianship (Kaitiakitanga), which, in unison with Nigel Brown’s We Are Sorry invokes the roles and responsibilities the wider community has in protecting the land. Mark Adams’ moody composite photographic work of five views across the plains shows irrigation canals, but these artificial implements are dwarfed by the magnitude of their surroundings, yet there is an uneasy sense that such slashing will continue. However, there is a suggestion in the vastness of the scene that in this conflict there is not a singular path into the future, but options.

And this is the great success of He awa reo, through the high individual standards that the participating artists set for themselves the works collectively open the debate regarding the Central Water Plains Scheme to a larger audience, provoking viewers with works of great depth and clever aesthetic contrast.

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in their own words… by Daniel Colins

from the blog//sciblogs.co.nz/crikey-creek
I’ve had an affinity with art since before I can remember. I went through a Seurat phase in primary school. Chalked up an asphalt car park with Picasso’s Guernica. And explained numerical modelling for my PhD defense with Colin McCahon.
Art and science both seek to offer narratives about the world. Science takes the objective path, or close to it, while art meanders along the more subjective. But they often overlap or complement each other, as was the case at COCA last Saturday.
The exhibition was by Artists for Save Our Water, an ensemble of 12 artists gathered essentially to protest a against reservoir and irrigation scheme that had been proposed for central Canterbury. I covered Saturday’s closing reception previously. (The Press was there, but they didn’t seem to be taking notes.)
After the reception, I took the opportunity to talk to a couple of the artists about their work.
Margaret Ryley is an artist and potter based in North Canterbury. While Artists for Save our Water is in its second year, she has been depicting water in her pieces for much longer. Her initial inspiration was the Ashley.
“I grew up playing in the river, observing the river, feeling the stones.”
But over time, Ryley has noticed things change. Both along the Ashley and the larger Waimakariri just north of Christchurch.
“The Waimakariri was this large river that you went over going into Christchurch. And in earlier years I can remember it flooding. I can remember my father having to go up round the gorge to get into Christchurch because then there was a huge volume of water. It’s not been the same since…”
It is this new, quieter river that Ryley conveys through her artwork. Pieces of pottery and porcelain lie scattered along an arc, the small white porcelain pieces framing the larger glazed clays, fitting materials for a river. There was no definite boundary, and in fact the pieces had been moved slightly by observers, much the same way that real rivers are.
The white porcelain pieces are the white stones of the river. Their occasional black lines represent both bridge and geological past. Of the clay pieces, the walnut ash glaze gives a golden colour, the copper a blue to mimic the water. But there isn’t much blue.
Ryley says of the rivers:
“There are more and more piles of stones and less and less water.”
Her concern is that a natural and beautiful ecosystem is being degraded by careless use. Nesting birds are deprived of suitable nesting sites. Charismatic braids lost. These are risks posed by greater abstraction of water.
As part of the Save Our Water project, the 12 artists toured the Waimakariri River, and the site of the proposed reservoir. I asked Ryley what new insights she garnered from this experience.
The first was the sense of how fleeting anything you do to the rocks was. They could become your canvas, but before too long the river would wash the canvas away.
“But also the magnitude of what people were trying to do to make use of the water which they see as being wasted going out to sea without any regard for the natural order of things. And to look at the area that they wish to dam, to have only the hilltops which would be islands in the middle of the dam and a great dam the overshadowed the township of Coalgate. It’s just horrifying that people could just think they could do that.”
The second artist I spoke with was painter Linda James. She has not always focused on rivers…
“But I have actually always done water; something about the power of the water.”
James is fascinated by the constancy and patterns of water flow, its circularity, its eddies. These features come across strongly in her three large paintings, each of a waterfall. Not of the Waimakarari, but made out as picturesque postcards.
I noticed the unconventional canvases: free-hanging, unframed and comprising a patchwork of smaller canvas pieces.
“I like the way it makes a texture and you get separate patterns going. Like you’ll get the big picture and then you’ll get the patterns of the surface.”
In one corner of one painting she has written the words ‘Out of the chaos’.
“There’s always these patterns that are formed in whatever you look at. … There’s somehow these patterns are always there but it’s so destructive. I mean if these rivers are in flood … Harmony can be so ruthless.”
Of the bigger picture of water use in Canterbury, James agrees that we should be growing crops and irrigating them, but not on such a large scale.
“It lacks any foresight.”

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water show review by Daniel Collins

Canterbury’s water management needs a serious overhaul, according to artists and activists who gathered for an art exhibition at Christchurch’s COCA on Saturday.
The exhibition featured works by 12 artists brought together by local artists Sally Hope and Jane Zusters for the second annual Artists for Save Our Water project. The focus this year was on the Waimakariri River, and the proposed Central Plains Water scheme.
The artwork chosen as the banner of the exhibition was a work by Ramonda Te Maiharoa. Her composite image depicted a river being blocked by a line of wooden-framed glass doors. In their centre was a door handle and key-hole. The message was simple: With the right key, the CPW’s reservoir in the Waianiwaniwa Valley need not be built. And indeed, ultimately, it was not.
In attendance were advocates and politicians of a range of stripes, but all in agreement on the need to improve water management.
Murray Rodgers, Chairman of the Water Rights Trust and author of ‘Canterbury’s Wicked Water’, spoke about the need to shift water management in Canterbury to balance economic and environmental needs. He emphasised the need to think long-term, and to replace “undisciplined growth” with “sustainable growth“.
Rodgers was highly critical of successive governments, both Labour and National, for their bureaucratic hold-up and inaction on freshwater management, despite many good reports produced by MfE.
Rodgers further decried the degrading waterways, unfit to swim in, and lays blame on unsustainable agricultural practices:
“Cows are still shitting in some Canterbury waterways. Lowland streams run dry. Behaviours that cause the on-going rise in nitrate levels in ground and surface waters are expanding, those behaviours are not contracting.“
Rodgers’ leadership on water issues was subsequently praised by Dr Russel Norman, co-leader of the Green Party. Norman went on to stress that it was the NGOs and volunteers that are ultimately moving the discussion forward.
According to Norman, these events surrounding local water management and agricultural intensification are small snapshots of a bigger pictures. In the long run, he said…
“It’s about what kind of relationship do we want to have to the planet, and to our own local environment, and hence it’s about what kind of people do we want to be.“
Brendan Burns, MP for Christchurch Central and Labour spokesperson for water issues, acknowledged Murray Rodgers’ speech, saying that “almost all of what he said was absolutely, bang-on correct,” and conceded Labour’s past actions have not been entirely to the benefit of sustainable water management.
Burns also called Canterbury’s track record on water management “woeful,” and cited a recent Ecan report claiming that 1 in 5 farmers had been in serious breach of resource management consents, but he balanced this by saying that he has yet to meet any farmer who actually wants to damage the environment.
Both Brendan Burns and his National Party counterpart, Nicky Wagner, echoed Russel Norman’s sentiment that the issue of water management was about who we are. Wagner specifically recognized the work of artist Nigel Brown, and his piece ‘Water Through the Fingers’.
Changing the tone after the politicians, or at least changing the vocabulary, was artist and author of ‘The Water Thieves’, Sam Mahon. Mahon provided a geological and birds-eye view of the Canterbury Plains, woven over millennia by the braided Waimakariri River and her sisters. To Mahon, water mismanagement risks putting the “eternal weaver” to sleep.
While much of Saturday’s event was taken up by speech, it was the artists’ visual and textural works that provided the speech’s context. After the event I had the opportunity to talk to two artists about their works, why they were attracted to the water issue, and what they sought to convey. I will share their words with you soon.

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irrigators are sucking our rivers dry

Irrigators are sucking our rivers dry: update to He awa reo/ rivertalk opening 24 November

On October 30, 2009 Environment Canterbury gave Central Plains Water, a private  company, consent to take water from the Waimakariri and Rakaia rivers for irrigation on the Central Canterbury Plains. Waianiwaniwa Valley farmers were are delighted that their valley will not be flooded for a dam but a private company still got the water rights.

“Canterbury water belongs to all of us. We love our rivers but their water is being sucked up into irrigators and our rivers are varnishing. This is a sad day for our rivers and us all ” says artist Sally Hope

Twelve artists who care deeply about our  water and our  environment, are staging an exhibition about the  Waimakariri River at  Coca Gallery opening 5.30 pm, 24 November 2009.

At the opening Lady Diana Isaac will award the prizes for the three Canterbury School children who won Alpine Jet River rides for themselves and their families with their river art. Their art has been framed and will be exhibited along side the adult art.
Alpine Jets is threatened with closure if this scheme goes ahead.

At the closing of this exhibition at 2 pm, 12th December Russell Norman of the Green Party will be speaking, along with Murray Rodgers of the Water Rights Trust. The well known singers Malcolm McNeill and Rima Te Wiata are supporting the water cause by  performing.

email; info@artistsforsaveourwater.co.nz

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he awa reo/rivertalk opens 24 nov

he awa reo/ river talk
artists for save our water
Tuesday 24th November 2009photomontage by Ramonda te Maiharoa
Saturday 12th December 2009

art celebrating our rivers
Opening 5.30 Tuesday November 24th, 2009
This is the second artists for save our water project comprising Mark Adams, Nigel Brown, Linda James,
Sally Hope, Sam Mahon, Albi McCathy, Margaret Ryley, Ramonda Te Maiharoa, Irene Schroder, Becky
Turrell, Ben Woollcombe and Jane Zusters. Sponsored by The Malvern Hills Protection Society and Alpine
Jets the artists journeyed the Waimakariri River seeking inspiration for this exhibition. The artists celebrate
through their art this magnificent braided river threatened by the proposed Central Plains Water Scheme.
water show
2-4 pm Saturday, December 12th, 2009 entry by donation
Featuring Murray Rodgers author of Canterbury’s Wicked Water.
Starring singers Malcolm McNeill and Rima Te Wiata formerly known as the kelp bags, the runoff, and paua patties

Accompanying this exhibition are the winning entries of a river art competition for Canterbury
School Children.
Tuesday – Friday: 10am – 5pm
Saturday – Sunday: 12pm – 4pm
COCA 66 Gloucester St. Christchurch. New Zealand. Ph: +64 (03) 366 7261
he awa reo river talk artists for save our water

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win a jet boat ride

Media release – November 5, 2009
Last chance for thousands of Canterbury school children to win art competition
Entries close on Saturday for thousands of Canterbury school children in an art competition designed to highlight concerns over the future of the region’s rivers.
The Canterbury Children’s Rivertalk Art competition closes this weekend.The project is drawing public attention to the Central Plains Water Scheme. This is affecting the Waimakariri and Rakaia Rivers and has been granted interim approval but may still be appealed in the Environment Court.
Environment Canterbury is hearing 34 companies and individuals who have lodged applications to take more than 164 million cubic metres of water from high country rivers and lakes to irrigate 27,000 acres in the Mackenzie Country.
Three Canterbury school children have the opportunity to win the river art competition and a prize of Alpine jetboat ride.
The wining artworks will be selected by artists Sally Hope and Jane Zusters and Lady Diana Issac of the Canterbury Water Trust at the COCA Gallery at 1 pm November 9.
The three winning entries  from three age groups will be framed and hung alongside the art of  Mark Adams, Nigel Brown, Linda James, Sam Mahon, Albi McCathy, Ramonda Te Maiharoa,  Becky Turrell, Irene Schroder, Ben Woollcombe, Margaret Ryley, Sally Hope and Jane Zusters …
These works will make up an exhibition — He Awa Reo -Rivertalk: art celebrating our rivers — opening at COCA Gallery on November 24.
Media advisory: For more information contact Nikki Wallace-Bell at the COCA Gallery 03 3667261 or Jane Zusters 021 376 960 or Sally Hope 027 339 8174

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