Friday fieldshops

Friday 23 September: From 12.30pm and will return to the venue by 5.30pm at the latest.

Biodiversity and plantation forestry

As we contemplate a new National Policy Statement with the purpose of arresting decline in Aotearoa New Zealand’s indigenous biodiversity, it is timely to look at efforts being made to restore and enhance our native plants and animals. Biodiversity management associated with plantation forestry is a skilled endeavour. On this fieldshop, we will travel to a number of areas within an hour’s drive of Rotorua where indigenous biodiversity is being actively managed to restore habitat, wetlands and significant flora and fauna. Some of the species under active management include falcon, kiwi and bats. Touch, sense and see the progress being made and how effects mitigation and offsets are being applied.

Catch a matter of national importance while you can | trout fishing for beginners

Fully booked

Catch the enthusiasm of keen fishermen Fraser McNutt and Gareth Moran from B&A as they guide you into the world of angling and this tangible example of resource use. You will travel to one of Rotorua’s many renowned angling streams and receive some introductory information about the history of trout in New Zealand and the region. Fraser and Gareth will also demonstrate the essentials of fly tying and casting so that everyone has the best opportunity to land a trout in the wild. Rods, reels and flies will be provided. However, participants are welcome to bring their own gear and need to bring gumboots or waders. Fishing licences can be purchased online on the day.

Discovery and rediscovery: Discovering the Waimangu Volcanic Valley and rediscovering the Pink and White Terraces

Fully booked

Waimangu Volcanic Valley is the world’s youngest and the only geothermal system created within written history. It is also home to the now submerged Pink and White Terraces (Te Otukapuarangi and Te Tarata), the eighth natural wonder of the world, which lie beneath Lake Rotomahana following the eruption of Mt Tarawera on 10 June 1886. Tangata whenua settled in the area over half a millennium ago and accounted for the overwhelming majority of the 120 people who died during the 1886 eruption – still our worst natural disaster on a per capita basis in written history. Previously thought to have been destroyed during the Tarawera eruption, the Pink and White Terraces were rediscovered in 2011 by a joint New Zealand-United States project team led by Dr Cornel de Ronde of GNS Science.

During our bus ride out to Waimangu, a member of the Board of Waimangu Volcanic Valley Limited and Adam Hughes, General Manager, will give us an overview of the unique partnership between Te Mana o Ngāti Rangitihi and Tūhourangi Tribal Authority, which owns Waimangu, and will explain the partnership’s approach to rethinking resources within the volcanic valley in particular, in light of the recent lifting of COVID-19 border restrictions and the even more recent settlement of Treaty of Waitangi claims related to Waimangu and the Pink and White Terraces.

Upon arrival at Waimangu, we will have several fully guided options to experience, with flexibility to ensure everyone enjoys the full Waimangu experience:

  • A tour of the internationally significant geothermal features including Inferno Crater, the world’s largest crypto geyser, Frying Pan Lake, one of the world’s largest hot water springs and the unique Warbrick Terrace, a silica terrace that is growing in an unusual right-angle shape. We will also view a number of unusual and rare plants that thrive in and amongst those geothermal features.
  • A close look at the conservation efforts throughout the Waimangu Valley. The native forest in the valley is the only New Zealand example of a native forest naturally regenerating from complete devastation due to natural disaster. A significant pest eradication programme has resulted in a flourishing wildlife refuge.
  • A 45-minute cruise on Lake Rotomahana to view a number of beautiful and unique geothermal features and legacies of the Tarawera eruption (including the location of the now submerged Terraces).

Future of wood

Scion is a pre-eminent research group at the forefront of work on a circular bio-economy. It will host the group at its Rotorua campus in a recently completed state-of-the-art innovation centre constructed out of timber. There will be sessions on bioenergy, bioplastics (including sustainable packaging) and technological advances such as modified wood and new plantation species. Following our tour of Scion, there will be an opportunity to take the Redwoods Treewalk in the Whakarewarewa Forest.

Geothermal power development and industrial use

Take a scenic bus route past the iconic Rotorua lakes and geothermal tourism ventures to Kawerau learning about geothermal systems that we will pass on the way. You will be introduced to Mercury and its journey with renewable energy. Once at Kawerau we will visit the Mercury Kawerau Power Station and gain an understanding of how geothermal energy is utilised to produce power and the benefits of this renewable energy for electricity production and supply now and into the future. We will then visit Eastland Generation’s Te Ahi o Maui power station to gain an appreciation of the different scales of development and approaches to geothermal energy use. During our tour we will talk about how geothermal steam and heat is used in industrial processes in a number of different ventures in Kawerau. There will also be information about the Kawerau Geothermal System Management Plan, which is in place to assist the multiple users of the system.


Regenerated native forest, predator-free spaces and resource consents that enable Kiwi ingenuity to be applied have enabled Rotorua Canopy Tours to become the number one tourist attraction in Rotorua. A company leader will share their story on the relationships forged, hurdles overcome and works undertaken on the ground, regionally and internationally to secure their market position.

Two canopy tours are available: the Original Canopy Tour, a world-class enlightening adventure, which earned a #1 rating on TripAdvisor, and the next-level Ultimate Canopy Tour, which has even higher and longer ziplines for adventure-seeking junkies.

RMA meets Middle Earth

In 2019, Rings Scenic Tours Ltd successfully obtained a new planning environment for Hobbiton by way of a private plan change to the Matamata-Piako District Plan. You will hear about the challenges faced in this process and the unique way that this world-class and significant tourism venture has been accommodated into the district plan. See how growth will be managed while also mitigating adverse effects on the rural neighbourhood. We will hear from the landowner and team that led the plan change application and see the various parts of the site including the movie set itself, finishing with refreshments at the Green Dragon Inn.

Rural growing pains

Much is said about the growth of New Zealand’s fast-growing urban areas, but there is a lot going on in the rural rump of New Zealand, especially that which surrounds those urban centres. Western Bay of Plenty District is one of New Zealand’s fastest-growing districts. With more than 200,000 hectares of prime rural, coastal and urban land adjacent to Tauranga City and Rotorua, it provides a range of horticultural, agricultural and urban opportunities, which is resulting in significant challenges in the district every year.

Growth can, of course, bring both benefits and challenges in terms of the integration of land use and infrastructure and the changing aspirations and expectations of communities. This fieldshop will explore how Western Bay is managing the many challenges of urban pressures of its own as well as Tauranga and also those other national policies for productive land, indigenous biodiversity, and freshwater that have significant effects on our rural community. Western Bay has been in the thick of these issues since local government reform in 1989 and is happy to share its experiences.

We will visit these locations:

  • Paengaroa – we will talk about the growth trajectory and challenges of the kiwifruit industry and also innovative companies such as Comvita. Paengaroa is right on the border of a proposed 145ha industrial estate and is the location of a possible new town.
  • Maketū – we will see the Kaituna River diversion and wetland restoration and the associated cultural influences. We will also talk about biodiversity incentives for landowners.
  • Papamoa – we will talk about the territorial authority boundary and integration of urban growth and infrastructure provision (SmartGrowth, FDS, NPSUD etc).
  • Te Puke – we will explore how fragmentation of productive soils is one effect resulting from a community desire for lifestyle intensification and urban growth.
  • TECT Park – at this award-winning park, we will discuss planning and recreational aspects (and have some fun hopefully).


Fully booked

The Whakarewarewa Forest sits on the edge of Rotorua city and has both cultural, recreational, amenity and resource significance. Learn more about the cultural history of this important forest resource and the ways in which the use of the area is changing rapidly. Join Dave Donaldson, one of the fathers of mountain biking in Rotorua and keen mountain biker, Chris Dawson, on a 36 km mountain bike tour of the Whakarewarewa forest. Starting at the Waipa Mill carpark, this fieldshop will circumnavigate the forest, taking in stunning local views, historical sites and water resource areas under the guidance of local tourism, cultural and infrastructure experts. Using a network of mountain bike trails and forestry roads, this guided fieldshop will introduce you to the Whakarewarewa forest from a bike seat.

Use your own mountain bike or hire one on site, this fieldshop will provide a fascinating insight into the forest resource, finishing with a foot soak and light refreshments at the Secret Spot Spa.