Advocate 23/1

2023 – This year’s blogs will cover the issues that are of most concern to the Advocates. To quote Zane Grey  “To capture the fish is not all of the fishing.” 

Fishing is but one aspect of a catchment and there are fishing reports that cover this more regularly than I propose to do this year.  My balance is such that I no longer fish on a daily basis which makes reporting on fishing, from a personal basis, difficult. 

It is important that I inform what we are interested in and what we are discussing with authorities and other interest groups. 

The effect of Cyclone Gabrielle

The Tongariro River was largely unaffected by the Cyclone. Damage occurred in the town of Turangi and in the Tongariro River Catchment. The impact here was from gale force wind. There was little rain.

Within the town damage was from trees falling, These two photos are just one tree that fell.

Amazingly no one was hurt and minor damage to the house  and car that was under a part of the tree.

Power out from around 3.00am to 9.00pm and for many loss of phone and internet services. There was little rain. The surrounding forests suffered significant damage.

The forest near Lake Otamangakau is as devastated as these two photos show.

















Similar damage is in the area behind Motuoapa. Large mature pine trees were simply snapped off or blown over. It is a sorry sight. We did not suffer in the way that other areas were affected. 

                                       A pine tree, one of thousands snapped like matchsticks

Gale force winds occur regularly and forests are sometimes damaged and urban trees felled. The last gale force winds felled the trees at Tauranga Taupo leaving a landscape somewhat the same.

Natural and Built Submission

Our submission


The Advocates for the Tongariro River Inc was formed as a result of our concern about the damage caused by the 1998 Tongariro River flood. This required a petition to Parliament for remedy. The Advocates’ aim is to preserve and enhance the environment of the Tongariro River catchment, and to ensure that the river retains its importance as the Trout fishing capital of the world.

We do not support the Bill in its current form, and we wish to appear before the Committee to support our submission.

We agree that the RMA can benefit from reform, but seek the following changes to the Bill to ensure the protection of New Zealanders’ rightful access to and enjoyment of our natural environment. Specifically:

  1. The Bill should explicitly state that the protection and enhancement of public access to and enjoyment of the natural environment for recreational activities and well-being is a key outcome. It is a quintessential aspect of living in New Zealand and a huge contributor to the quality of life of so many. While the Bill does include “enhanced public access to and along the coastal marine area, lakes and rivers” as a system outcome, we consider that is too narrow in scope and in particular it should recognise the importance of the enablement of appropriate recreational activities.
  2. The Bill should focus on overall ecological health as an outcome, which includes but should not be limited to or unreasonably restricted by indigenous biodiversity. Many introduced species of flora and fauna are held in high value by New Zealanders and add positively to the environment.
  3. In particular, the Bill should retain the current requirements of the RMA with respect to the protection of the habitat of trout and salmon. As well as being of significant value for the recreation and well-being of New Zealanders, the fresh water fishery is a key tourism asset and contributes over $1 billion p.a. to the New Zealand economy (NZFFA 2020 estimate based on previous DOC and Cawthron Institute studies).
  4. The Bill should ensure that all those with interests and rights, including public interests and Iwi/hapu rights and interests, in a region must be engaged collaboratively in decision making in and for that region. This is a core democratic principle and right.

     Carl Bergstrom presenting the submission to the Select Committee chaired by Eugene Sage 1 March 2023.

As a committee we were grateful to Carl for the work he put into the submission and for his short, succinct, and to the point presentation to the Environment Committee.

Meeting with Mich’eal Downard – Waikato Regional Councillor.

Kathy White was our representative on Regional Council. Kathy stood down from WRC at the October 2022 election. We enjoyed a good working relaionship with Kathy and wish her well for the future.

At our February meeting we met with Mich’eal (Mike) Downard the newly elected Taupo representative on Waikato Regional Council.

Our meeting was an opportunity for us to make ourselves known to him and the matters we have an interest in – such as Wilding Pines, Willows, Flood Protection Scheme, Lake Levels etc. For Mike it was an opportunity to make himself known to us.

Mike  and Robert Cookson are the two WRC members on the Te Kopu a Kanapanapa committee. This new committee formed as a reult of the Ngati Tuwharetoa  Settlement. We have high hopes that there will be constructive interaction.

It was a good meeting.

Annual General Meeting

The AGM will be held on Saturday May 20, 2023 . 

The Annual Report will be sent to members next week.

It would be wonderful to have new members join our Committee. Talk with a Committee member or contact me and we can discuss Committee activity. This group plays an important role in the Taupo Fishery and Taupo Catchment and we need new ideas in the Committee which has the respect of Iwi and stakeholders.

Our members are valuable. The strength of our membership is the strength of our voice.


Sonnet on the joys of trout fishing that ChatGPT composed in about 3 seconds.

                         Alisdair Keucke heard about ChatGPT, put in Trout Fishing and got this –





Eric Wilson