Environmental Monitoring and Reporting (EMaR)
Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA)
Chair Stephen Woodhead
Environment Aotearoa 2019 Response: Strong data networks for better environmental guardianship.
Today, Stats NZ and the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) released Environment Aotearoa 2019, an overview report on the
state of our environment as mandated by the Environmental Reporting Act 2015.
The report looks across environmental domains to identify the most pressing issues and potential knowledge gaps. The
gaps identified provide a useful platform for considering how we might continue to build on and improve New Zealand’s
environmental monitoring networks.
Regional councils and unitary authorities operate many environmental monitoring programmes and the data collected helps
local and central government better understand and care for our land, air, and water. For example, regional councils
supplied their monitoring data to MfE and Stats NZ to help inform the Environment Aotearoa 2019 report and NIWA provided
additional analysis of this dataset at the national level.
The importance of data for reporting on the current state of our environment and determining the impact of human
activities is clear across all five report themes; our ecosystems and biodiversity, how we use our land, pollution from
our activities, how we use our freshwater and marine resources, and our changing climate. Quality data networks allow
decision-makers to have a greater understanding of where the pressures are, what interventions are working, and
ultimately the best use of resources to achieve desired outcomes. Good data also connects with our environment and means
we can make better choices as we learn more about the impacts of our activities.
Regional councils, MfE, Stats NZ, DOC, and science institutes work together to improve data networks through initiatives
like the Environmental Monitoring and Reporting (EMaR) programme. EMaR is focused on improving the coverage,
consistency, quality, and representation of data across rivers, groundwater, biodiversity, air, land, estuaries, coasts,
and lakes. It’s a big job and the bulk of the work happens behind the scenes with the support of scientists, data
managers, and technicians.
In the years since Environment Aotearoa 2015 was released, the EMaR programme has made significant progress. EMaR has
helped to connect New Zealand’s environmental data landscape, improve data standardisation, and made it possible for
regional council monitoring data across the country to be visible and accessible through the Land, Air, Water Aotearoa
By using LAWA people in every region of New Zealand can explore monitoring data where they are and track how community
actions are making a difference. The LAWA project is world leading and we hope to build on its momentum to share more
information and data that can help us all make better decisions for our environment.