Taupō Lake Care Incorporated – Catchment Group


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2023 Catchment Group Entry: Taupō Lake Care Incorporated 

Te oranga o te tangata, he whenua; land delivers our wellbeing.

We are celebrating the fantastic commitment farmers, past and present, Māori and non-Māori, make to maintain the pristine Lake Taupō for future generations.

In the late 1990s scientific evidence showed a potential threat to Lake Taupō’s water quality. Local farmers, concerned about looming nitrogen leaching regulations, formed Taupō Lake Care (TLC) in 2000. From the beginning, the overarching goal has been to protect and enhance the lake’s water quality while retaining land use flexibility.

For Māori members their kaitiaki role is paramount. Their ongoing contribution is essential.

TLC, as a key stakeholder, participated in the development of the world-first emissions cap-and-trade scheme for non-point-source nitrogen leaching introduced by the Waikato Regional Council. Farmers operate under audited Nitrogen Discharge Consents.

The cap limits farming outputs, while trading allows the cap to be distributed across the catchment in a way that best supports farming operations.

The Lake Taupō Protection Trust has 27 agreements in place with 22 entities for nitrogen reductions in perpetuity; converting to forestry or making farm management changes.

Farmers draw on efficiencies in stock and pasture management combined with environmentally friendly techniques. Overseer is an essential tool guiding management decisions.

TLC lobbied for a monitor farm programme which gave farmers the confidence to move forward and adapt their business to cope with the constraints of the cap.

There is an extensive portfolio of research carried out by TLC and individuals, and TLC continues to keep abreast of changes in regulations and science developments, passing information on to members. National and international interests continue to interview members on the cap’s environmental, social, and economic impacts.

TLC is a key liaison point for its members. Today there are 78 properties involved with the next generation of farmers coming on board. There are no plans to slow down as members adapt to ongoing environmental changes and challenges.


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