Transforming freshwater governing : a case study of farmer and regional council change in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Agriculture and Environment at Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand

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Achieving improved freshwater governing and management is a global challenge, from which New Zealand is not exempt. Agriculture has played, and continues to play, a central role in New Zealand’s economy, but is also an activity that impacts freshwater. In this research it is argued that a transition is occurring in New Zealand that necessitates transformational change by both farmers and the entities that govern farmers’ freshwater management. This thesis explores at the micro (individual) level the lived experiences of two groups of regime actors involved in NZ’s freshwater governing transition: farmers, and regional councils – the governing entity that has the legislative responsibility to manage the freshwater resources of a region. The governing of farmers’ freshwater management in the Tukituki Catchment of the Hawke’s Bay region is the single case studied qualitatively. The research question answered is what is shaping the governing of farmers’ freshwater management, and what is shaping the regional council’s governing of farmers? The relationship between the two groups was of interest also. Data were primarily obtained through semi-structured interviews with farmers and people associated with the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council conducted between August 2016 and October 2017. Findings of this research suggest that the regional council was not actively governing farmer participants. Farmers were changing their freshwater management practices, but in response to broader societal pressures. Changes made were moderated by farmer networks and localised good farming norms linked with farmer identity. Freshwater was not at the time recognised as a component of good farming norms, nor a farmer’s identity. Farmer practices instead illustrated the ongoing dominance of a productivist logic. The transition for the regional council from an entity that historically had a hands-off approach to governing farmers and engaged with farmers through a productivist logic, to an entity that had an environmental protection logic and actively governed farmers required organisational transformation. It also necessitated a fundamental renegotiation of the relationship between farmers and the council. The challenges experienced by individuals and the organisation as a whole in adapting to a new formal institution that required transformational change arose from sticking points, institutional logics, ways-of-knowing, people’s self-identities and relationships. The depth of change necessary, individually and collectively, of farmers, natural resource management (NRM) governing entities and arguably others, explains why improvements in freshwater have not yet been fully realised. As explained by a farmer participant in this research it’s a hellova big job to do this stuff (F2).  
Figures 3.1 & 3.2 are re-used with the permission of the Hawkes Bay Regional Council.
Water quality management, Agriculture, Environmental aspects, Local government and environmental policy, New Zealand, Tukituki River Watershed