RMLA Awards Report 2011

Firstly, the National Committee wishes to thank all those members who put forward RMLA Award nominations this year.  As discussed at the Conference dinner, we really need our members to put effort each year into entering themselves or nominating others in the various categories.  The strength of the RMLA awards rests in the caliber and number of entrants and the resultant prestige in being selected as the winning entrant.  The RMLA Awards are a great way to annually recognise successes within the resource management profession, celebrate in others or our own success, and reward the professional excellence and hard work that goes on each year in the various RMA fields.

Documentation Category

The Waikato Regional Council was the successful recipient in the RMLA Document category, for Variation No. 5 related to Lake Taupo water quality.

Variation 5 is ground breaking and pioneering on an issue that affects one of NZ’s most important water catchments. The lessons learned and the examples set by Variation No. 5 are expected to be reviewed for other catchments and trading schemes internationally and nationally.  Variation No. 5 was born out of the efforts of Waikato Regional Council, with District Council, Central Government, Iwi partners and wider community stakeholders all actively engaged and involved in the process.  The RMLA wished to recognises Waikato Regional Council making a bold start on tackling this very difficult environmental issue, starting back in 2000.  It has taken some time for Variation No. 5 to complete the RMA statutory processes, primarily due its complexity and significant impact on landowners and stakeholders. However Variation No. 5 in its final operative form is comprehensive, well thought out and innovative, and will hopefully lead to significant advancements in the way water quality and sustainable land practises around our waterways are managed around Lake Taupo and potentially the rest of New Zealand in the near future.

From left: Simon Berry (Simon Berry Environmental), Justine Young (WRC), Cr Stuart Kneebone (WRC), Rob Dragten (WRC), Craig Malone (Simon Berry Environmental)

Projects Category

The criteria for the Project Award is that the project makes a significant contribution to the advancement of best practice and the implementation of the RMA’s purpose and principles. 

The Project Award recipient this year is Contact Energy’s Tauhara II Geothermal Consents project.  Tauhara ll was the first project to be completed in 2010 under the new “nine month “ Board of inquiry process administered by the newly formed EPA.

As such, the project team (comprising Contact Energy, Environmental Management Services, SKM, Buddle Findlay, Trevor Robinson Barrister and Isthmus) was breaking new ground to try to address all of substantive complex issues and deal with new statutory processes, all within a tight time frame. The procedures created and followed were well lead and coordinated. Innovative planning and consultative mechanisms were adopted that resulted in a highly successful outcome, including meeting the scheduled timeframes, and achieving community and stakeholder support through the new legislative process.

For Tauhara II Project

Kate Barry-Piceno presenting the award to Rosemary Dixon of Contact Energy

Outstanding Person Award

There were no nominees for this award in 2011.


The Judge John Bollard Lifetime Commemorative Award

There were no nominees for this award in 2011.


Report by Kate Barry-Piceno, Awards Convenor 2011