Kaikōura, a South Island coastal town, is world famous for its beautiful environment. Responsible stewardship of the land is critical for the town's thriving Māori-owned and -operated nature-based and cultural tourism industry, and the local community has embraced this responbisility. The Kaikōura District Council was one of the first councils in the world to adopt the globally recognised EarthCheck® benchmark. The Kaikōura area became 'zero waste' in response to this benchmark.

CIBR researchers offered to help the council to engage with the community to explore beneficial options to reuse 1500 tonnes of stockpiled biosolids (treated sewage sludge) that was rapidly nearing the end of its permitted storage period.

After stakeholder, environmental, biophysical, life cycle, and economic analyses and four well-received hui, the Kaikōura community was able to combine their understanding of the social, cultural, environmental and economic considerations to make a more informed recommendation to the council on how best to reuse their biosolids. Ultimately, researchers from the CIBR compiled and submitted a case study report to the Kaikōura District Council, which has agreed to adopt the recommendations.

Looking beyond the immediate challenge of the stored biosolids, the CIBR and the Kaikōura community led a further hui under the ‘Up the Pipe’ project project to help students from the local high school to investigate contaminants in everyday household products in their own homes, and to understand how decisions we make as consumers impact our environment.

The CIBR gratefully acknowledges the partnership of the Kaikōura District Council, Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura and Raewyn Solomon of Takahanga marae in this project.

For more information about the CIBR's work in Kaikōura, contact Lisa Langer.

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