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Mackenzie Country Trust Update for the Shared Vision Forum

This is an update on the work and progress of the Mackenzie Country Trust launched back in February at Tekapo.

The Trust met for a two day workshop in Twizel on the 27-28 April. The workshop was the first significant meeting of the Trust and the first stage in the process of developing a strategy and tools for undertaking the Trusts’ work as set out in the Deed and Mackenzie Agreement.

The workshop included presentations by DOC staff on tenure review and biodiversity (Sally Jones, Jeremy Severinsen and Nic Head), ECAN and the Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee (Nic Newman and Barry Shepherd), Paddy Boyd on the current state of farming and irrigation developments and finally a presentation from Susan Walker of Landcare Research on the ecosystems and features of the Mackenzie. Unfortunately, LINZ were not able to attend but this was covered by Jeremy who had previously worked for LINZ. The purpose of these presentations was to provide all Trustees with the current state information on the Mackenzie, to assist in developing discussion about the Trust’s work and the planning needed to go forward.

The internal workshop sessions which followed looked at the issues of developing a strategy, running and financing the Trust business, the framework for Joint Management Agreements, Plan Change 13 and the Trust involvement, and “Selling the Trust” which revolved around branding and related matters. This workshop was just the start of the process to develop the key tools for developing and implementing the Trust’s business. The workshop finished with a discussion about the support that the Trust will require in terms of staffing and services like an accountant.

The work of getting some sustainable funding to enable the ongoing work of the Trust to proceed in the longer term is a high priority. This will be one of the things the Trust will be focusing on in the coming months.

The next few months will also see the development of the following as foundation planning and working tools:
• Strategic Plan
• Business and Marketing Plan
• Communications Plan
• Joint Management Agreements
• Branding and the website

The Trust has now obtained its Charitable status, is GST registered and has it’s first grant of $50,000 from DOC. We are working on getting the other half of the grant for this year from MfE. These funds will be used to support the work outlined above and operate the Trust. In the interim the Trust has retained Rob Young, Te Manahuna Consulting as a Project Manager and will look towards a more permanent staff arrangement later in the year once the funding for the future is more secure.

The seven Trustees are enthusiastic about the challenge ahead and will be meeting regularly to progress the implementation of the work of the Trust in the coming months.

Mike Neilson
Mackenzie Country Trust.

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