Resource Management

Chatham Island Resource Management Document 2018 – Partially Operative

At a council meeting on 15 December 2017 the Chatham Islands Council resolved to make the Chatham Islands Resource Document (CIRMD) partially operative on 31 January 2018. You can read the full CIRMD and relevant documents below:

What we do and why we do it

The environment function of Council is carried out in terms of the requirements of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). This function requires the monitoring and reporting on the state of the Chatham Islands environment – its land, air, water and coastal resources; and review, at not less than 10 year intervals, of policy for managing the natural and physical resources of the Chatham Islands. Ensuring the ongoing involvement of the community in defining issues, developing policy and through to implementing best practice methods to manage issues, is an important part of the function.

Monitoring Activities

Council is required to monitor the state of the environment, so it can effectively carry out its functions under the RMA. Monitoring of various resources can provide us with information that will:

  • inform us about the current condition of the environment;
  • tell us what the key pressures on the environment are, whether the environment is getting better or worse and what Council is doing or intending to do to look after the environment;
  • allow Council to assess the effectiveness of policies and methods relating to environmental management;
  • raise awareness of environmental issues in the community;
  • assist in making suggestions on ways to reduce adverse environmental effects; and
  • enable Council to support a range of practical, on the ground responses, to address specific issues.


A localised nuisance or a major industry process, particularly in proximity to sensitive land uses, could adversely affect the air quality of the Chatham Islands.


Water resources, which include rivers, lakes, wetlands, lagoons and groundwater play a critical role in the social, economical, ecological and landscape fabric of the Islands. The Te Whanga lagoon is of major significance to Iwi and is generally viewed as a valuable community resource due to food gathering and historical associations. It contains significant ecosystem values, including remnants of broad-leaved forests, wetland rush species and a rich and diverse fish and bird life. Water quality can be adversely affected as a result of contaminants from point source discharges and “non-point source” discharges. Due to the absence of major industrial enterprises (except for the fish factories which discharge into coastal waters) there are only a relatively small number of point source discharges.


The Chatham Islands’ geology, isolation, topography, climate and soils have given rise to unique natural environments. Many of the animal and plant species present are endemic to the Chatham Islands. Forest cover is now rare in northern and central Chatham Island and the north of Pitt Island. Some of the remaining areas, particularly many small forest remnants, are under pressure from the effects of stock and wind. Wetlands are affected by grazing, occasional burning and activities such as sphagnum moss harvesting. Pests such as possums continue to cause damage while indigenous species, such as akeake have been used for firewood purposes. As a consequence, habitats of much of the indigenous fauna have been severely affected by reduction in area and fragmentation and are also vulnerable to predators such as cats and rats. Some natural features and landscapes can potentially be adversely affected by development pressures. Retention of natural resources has benefits for the community in terms of the character of the Islands, amenity values, visual appreciation, conservation and as an attraction for visitors.

Coastal Resources

The coastal environment is important to the Chatham Islands and beyond because it is a major economic resource for commercial fishing, has great potential for marine farming, and port-related activities. These sometimes conflicting activities place pressure on the marine environment but the long term impacts of some of these activities are not well understood. Legislative changes in respect of aquaculture activities and the foreshore and seabed may have implications for responses in respect of policy development and subsequent processing of resource consents.

Resource Management Document

Decisions on Chatham Islands Resource Management Document

Council Decisions on submissions and further submissions to the Chatham Islands Resource Management Document were publicly notified on Saturday 18 July 2015.

The proposed Chatham Islands Resource Management Document is amended in accordance with the decisions on and from the date of this public notice.

You can view the amendments to the Report here.

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