Advocate 21/4


The AGM honored Dr Stuart Crosbie by appointing him a distinguished member of the Advocates.

Stuart developed our view on the operational levels of Lake Taupo for power generation on the Waikato River, arguing that the same generation output could be achieved with a slightly lower maximum operationl level. Mercury (Mighty River Power) gave a full day to listen to the argument but a couple of weeks before re convening the meeting they presented their argument that the status quo be kept.

Stuart presented the Advocates Committtee with an excellent action plan to go forward. We still use the essential framework of that plan and have published that part in the Annual Report since. Some felt the plan was a business model and found it above our needs. Stuart developed a plan for an Integrated Catchment Management plan for the Tongariro River and presented this to the Taupo Committee of theWaikato Regional Council. The purpose was to have a full knowledge of all involved with the Tongariro River – this was missing when the 2004 flood occurred. The WRC Taupo Committee thought it a great action and Iwi said that they would take responsibility for the plan. Some part is included in the consultation document Te Kaupapa Kaitiaki currently before the community. Stuart as Chairman of the Advocates played a key role in the development of the Tongariro River Trail gaining the support of Genesis for the trail. The recognition as a distinguished member is well earned.

The Committee has changed with the resignation of Stuart. John Matin has joined the Committee. Carl Bergstrom, who was co-opted to the Committee during 2020 ,was elected at the AGM. Gary Brown remains as President, Richard Kemp and Warren Butterworth are co – Vice Presidents, John Toogood is Treasurer and I remain as Secretary. The AGM had a disappointing number of members attend, which is consistent with voluntary organisations nationwide.

A key activity during the year was ‘Access’ . This has resulted in a clearer understanding of access rights on the Tongariro River.

Our task has been advocacy to urge those with the power to respond. We have presented the case for action as we don’t have any right to take the action ourselves.

 TFAC (Tongariro Fishing Avisory Committee

I attended the TFAC meeting held in Taupo on 27th May 2021.

The National Trout Centre Chairman and TFAC Committee member, Peter Baldwin,  died suddenly on May 13  and his funeral will be held in Taupo this Saturday. Peter played a crucial role in negotiating the National Trout Centre with Iwi. The Advocates join with TFAC in their condolence to his family.

The new fishing season is close. License fees remain as for 2020 but it is noted that the 5 yearly review, interrupted by the COVID shutdown, will happen in 2022. The fishery license fee and rules will be reviewed.

The new season will see the introduction of a license forLake Rotoaira available on the DOC Taupo Fishing license website. We have been able to fish Lake Rotoaira under the Taupo license but a charge was made for access of about $7 a day. A season access permit was available. Lake Rotoaira Trust has negotiated a Lake Rotoaira fishing license which consists of license and access in one. The Lake and its fishery will be managed by the Trustees.  I am not aware of the new license fee. I have enjoyed some wonderful fishing on Lake Rotoaira. In my early days I used a split cane rod and on Rotoaira I had caught four fish in quick succession. With the next fish  there was a sickening crunch as the rod tip broke. I was unaware that the steel core of the rod needed regular replacement.

The Waipa Trap data.

The data revealed what we already knew – that the fishing year has been the best in the last 20 years. The trap data confirmed that both Rainbow and Brown Trout were bigger than has been the case  for a long time.

Lake Otamangakau

DOC Fishery struggle with management of the Lake Otamangakau fishery due to its reputation as a trophy fishery, its small number of trophy fish and the influence of temperature on the survival of fish after catch and release. The idea of days when fishing is not permitted is being developed.

Te Kaupapa Kaitiaki (The Consultation Document)

The consultation document Te Kopua Kaitiaki  states the issues,aims and outcomes (the pln). Te Kopu a Kanapanapa is the committee set up under the Ngati Tuwharetoa Claims Settlement Act 2018 to administer the plan.

Consultation was organised for Turangi Taupo and Kinloch I was the only member in the community to attend the consultation in Turangi.  The committee set up to administer the plan of Te Kaupapa Kaitiaki, Te Kopu a Kanapanapa was set up under the Waitangi tribunal. The Committee, Te Kopua a Kanapanapa is made up of 8 members, four from Ngati Tuwharetoa, two from Taupo District Council and two from Waikato Regional Council. Co-chair of the committee are George Asher and David Trewavas. I have known George for some time and enjoyed a pleasant discussion with him and David Rameka. As an angler I was pleased to read the objectives in 9.2 nga nawe, nga whainga, nga hua (issues, objectives, outcomes). Other relevant matters,  page 35  ” to protect freshwater ecosystems, indigenous species and trout fisheries”. I learned that the discussion with the 26 hapu was contentious, but the wish was for trout to be included. I am grateful.

Initially my concern was that it seemed to be similar to Taupo Waters as set up by the Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board which, as the body set up in 1926 by the Government of the day, was the representative of Ngati Tuwharetoa  as owner of the lake bed and rivers. 

The document needs to be read and understood in all its parts with Part C establishing the legality and  functions of the committee.


Reports are that river fishing is slow to hard. One report however stated that an angler took 17 fish in 2 hours. I have been a reluctant angler and have fished only a few times unsuccessfully – more concerned with my balance than with activity at the end of my line. The river stones are very slippery, covered in periphyton. We need a flood to clean the stones (something more than 5 times the normal flow of approximately 23 m3/sec, +100 cubic meters per  second.) The largest flow was 49 m3/sec in mid April and since then  only a couple of flows around 30 m3/sec. Today it is 21.5 m3/sec. However, we don’t want a flood of 2004 nor of Ashburton proportions.

Given the slippery rocks, the Delta seems a good option but the lake is so low and it’s difficult to take a boat out from Tokaanu. I  can only imagine that there is a good rip. The only other Tongariro option is the lower river where there are no rocks to trip me up. I note from the Taupo Turangi Weekender (TDC page) that there is a warning to dog owners that due to the low lake level “there’s been a possible appearance of Nostoc on the foreshore. Nostoc is a type of cynobacteria (blue green algae), and in certain conditions can produce toxins that are particularly dangerous to dogs.”

Tokaanu Bay is a mess. It was clear of weed in 1974. It could be fished harling around the edge and back to the tailrace but that hasn’t been the case for some time. My discussion with George Asher revealed that Te Kaupapa Kaitiaki are seeking an explanation for the weed in the bay. It is easy to point the finger at Genesis and the Turangi sewage farm but are there other causes? We will wait and see.

The weed cutter was recently at work clearing the channel for boats to access the deeper water of Waih Bay.


Have you paid your subscription for this year. It’s so easy to forget or to think that you have when you haven’t or to pay a second time. The committee is looking at a solution to this issue to make it easier for members.

Eric Wilson