6 November 2019
This week Hawke’s Bay Regional Council turns 30.
Back in 1989, the Local Government Act pared 21 local bodies in Hawke's Bay down to just five Councils for the region.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council was formed out of catchment, drainage and pest control boards, the harbour board and the
United Council, from which it gained its first Chief Executive, the late Dudley Hawkes.
Thirty years on, Rex Graham chairs the Regional Council with a deliberate focus on protecting and enhancing the
environment of Hawke’s Bay.
“There’s been a lot of work done already to improve our rivers, streams, lakes and estuaries,” says Mr Graham.
“We’ve got a great team of Regional Councillors and we’ll work closely with our community to deliver land and water
plans, planting, fencing, pest control and our many other functions, including regulation when needed,” says Mr Graham.
One small part of the role of managing natural resources has been monitoring water levels in the Ngaruroro River at
Fernhill, since 1952. This is one of 54 river level sites monitored by the Regional Council.
According to Environmental Information Manager and long-time staff member, Peter Davis, the technology has changed
dramatically over the years.
“At one time, staff drove Land Rovers to each water measuring site to change weekly paper chart recorders driven by
clockwork motors. The information was then digitised back at the office and typed into technical reports,” says Mr
“These days, we still have to set up and maintain the sites, but our digital devices send regular wireless updates
through our systems, which quality check and upload to the web. All our data on rivers and low flows, groundwater,
rainfall, air quality and climate is freely available to the public,” adds Mr Davis.