Milestone in mapping a precious resource

A recent announcement from Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research shows they have reached a major milestone: the first 10 million hectares of our New Zealand land area have now been mapped by soil type. This represents around 37% of our 26 million hectares of land area. Another 1.5 million hectares are expected to be mapped by 2025, which is a great success for this partnership between the Ministry for Primary Industries, Manaaki Whenua and 12 Regional Councils.
More than 5,500 different soil types have been mapped to date, with information on each soil type freely available on the S-map Online website. The significance of this resource is that it now enables serious conversations about how little highly productive land there is in New Zealand and how much it requires protection. For too long the New Zealand public seems to have been highly sensitive to risks to our conservation estate (totalling almost 8 million hectares) but oblivious to the threat to our highly productive land (around 4 million hectares) from ribbon development along our highways and from urban sprawl. Our low population density has given us the illusion that there is still plenty of productive land to go round: that is far from the truth, and once lost to industrial or urban use, this fertile land can never be recovered.
It is probably not a coincidence that the Government has recently released a National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land (NPS-HPL), which will enhance protection for our most productive land. The national policy statement comes into effect from 17 October. It requires Councils to identify, map and manage highly productive land to ensure it remains available for primary production.
Environment Minister David Parker acknowledged the need to balance conflicting demands on land by saying, “We need to house our people and to feed them too. Our cities and towns need to grow but not at the expense of the land that’s best suited to grow our food.” Agriculture and Trade Minister Damien O’Connor said that in the past 20 years, about 35,000 hectares of highly productive land have been carved up for urban or rural residential development, while 170,000 hectares of such land have been converted to lifestyle blocks.
Councils have a three-year transition phase to fully identify, map, and manage highly productive land. But councils will still be able to rezone highly productive land for urban housing under certain conditions: so we need the public to recognise how valuable our limited area of highly productive land is, and speak out in its defence, just as much as we already speak out for conservation.

Dr Jill Stanley honoured

I take great pleasure in congratulating Dr Jill Stanley on becoming a Companion of the Royal Society Te Apārangi, an honour that recognises outstanding leadership or eminent contributions to promoting and advancing humanities, science or technology in New Zealand. Jill Stanley – awarded Honorary Life membership of the NZIAHS in 2020 – joined the New Zealand Society for Horticultural Science in 1981 and was its President from 1999-2001 before its merger with NZIAHS.  She was an NZIAHS Council member from 2010–2012, Council Secretary from 2012–2015, Vice-President from 2015–2017 and President from 2017–2018. As Science Group Leader, Fruit Crop Physiology, for Plant & Food Research, she is a leader in developing science, mentoring others and transferring knowledge that has contributed to the growth of the New Zealand and global horticultural sectors.

I was saddened to learn of the death of Euan Wallace, an Honorary Life member of The New Zealand Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science.
Euan, who grew up in Wellington, had his appetite for horticulture whetted when he was a teenager after each of his home-grown potatoes, carrots, radishes and parsnips won a prize at the Karori Horticulture Show. He went on to attend Massey College (now Massey University) completing his Bachelor of Agriculture Science in Horticulture in 1961 and became a Horticultural advisory officer with the Department of Agriculture based in Hastings.
Among other things, he subsequently worked for an international agrichemicals company, established New Zealand’s first independent non-Government contract research company, Agro-Research Enterprises Ltd, and became involved in what he termed “forensic horticulture”, investigating cases where agrichemicals were suspected of being the culprit in damaging crops.

Read the full obituary HERE
I extend my sympathies to Marlene, Euan’s wife of almost 60 years, and his three children and grandchildren

Canterbury ForumCan New Zealand farmers mitigate climate change

Date:   Wednesday 26th October 2022 8.45am to 4.00pm
Venue: Stewart 1, Stewart Lecture Theatre, Lincoln University, Lincoln
“With the government announcement on Tuesday 11th October of their response to He Waka Eke Noa and a consultation period over the next 5 weeks this forum is very topical.

Many of the key players in the debate will be presenting at the forum.

”The topic “Can New Zealand farmers mitigate climate change?” has been chosen because the He Waka Eke Noa consultation exercise appears to reveal that New Zealand farmers want to control their own destiny with a farm-based levy option for pricing agricultural GHG emissions and not by a processor-level levy. In this context, what can producers do individually to mitigate their GHG emissions and respond to the climate change challenge?

Speakers: Hon James Shaw, Minister for Climate Change; Dr Rod Carr, Climate Change Commission; Kelly Forster, He Waka Eke Noa; Prof Bronwyn Hayward, Prof Euan Mason and Dr John Reid from the University of Canterbury; Dr Geoff Ross, Lake Hawea Station; Michelle Sands, Horticulture New Zealand; Prof Ken Hughey, Prof Keith Cameron, Prof Hong Di and Hon Prof Keith Woodford from Lincoln University and Chairing the panel at the end of the day, Dr Robyn Dynes from AgResearch.

Registration is $130
We will be again live stream the event – registration to live stream $90

Reminder to NZIAHS Members

NZIAHS Annual General Meeting
Wednesday 26th October 2022 4.00pm
In person:  Stewart 1, Stewart Lecture Theatre, Lincoln University, Lincoln
By Zoom:  Send your email address to and you will be sent the link