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Sparking Sustainable Change: New Zealand's First Fully Electric Orchard

Down here in our corner of the South Island, our team is fortunate to work alongside some truly innovative operations that are paving the way for a more sustainable future. One such trailblazing enterprise is Forest Lodge Orchard - the world's first 100% electric, zero fossil fuel commercial food production orchard based in the heart of Central Otago. 

Our work with the innovative owners of Forest Lodge, Mike and Rebecca Casey, began with surveying and planning for the establishment of new high-density cherry tree plantings across their 6-hectare property. Our team mapped out the optimal layout and design to ensure precise tree placement and spacing were achieved. 

Alongside the orchard planning, we provided planning and consent services to subdivide the residential dwelling on the property. This involved close collaboration with Mike and the local council to navigate regulatory requirements. We successfully created a new lot for the dwelling while ensuring the main orchard operation could function uninhibited. Our Senior Planner, Brodie Costello, managed to secure a "surplus to requirements" subdivision consent, which is quite the feat in Central Otago, given the restrictive scope the council assesses these types of consents under. But Brodie's hard work paid off, and it went a long way in streamlining the entire process. 


A key factor in Forest Lodge's world-first electric operations was the replacement of 20 fossil-fuel powered machines with electric alternatives. This move included the use of New Zealand's first electric tractor, enabling the orchard to operate completely emissions-free. As a result, the farm's daily energy costs dropped from $94 to just $32 through these steps, achieving comprehensive electrification. 

Working alongside businesses committed to sustainable solutions that preserve resources for future generations is something our team is passionate about. We're always striving to align our work with that mission. 

For the past 8 months, we have rigorously quantified our carbon footprint, undergoing a comprehensive certification process. We are excited to announce that our commitment to environmental stewardship has been recognised, as we have earned Toitū's Carbonreduce Certification. 

This internationally recognised stamp of approval validates the ongoing efforts we're making to positively impact the environment. It involves measuring and reducing our carbon footprint across all operations - vehicles, travel, energy use, waste, and more. 

As our CEO, Jason Harvey-Wills, put it, "we knew this was a critical step to further reduce our carbon impact year after year." 

Jason added that while we were already making efforts, quantifying our work gives us a solid foundation to set specific, measurable environmental goals moving forward. Being awarded Toitū's Carbonreduce Certification demonstrates our commitment to achieving Better Environments, Better Returns. 

Sustainable agricultural enterprises like Forest Lodge inspire us to keep pushing boundaries. We look forward to taking on more projects that push positive change and challenge the norm, enabling farming leaders to implement new practices that protect our unique landscapes in Aotearoa. 

Discover more about the world's first fully electric orchard at Forest Lodge's website, here.

Sunflowers, Sustainability and Sheep: Enhancing Regenerative Farming Practices on Tinwald Farm 

Nestled near Luggate in the Otago region lies Tinwald Farm. The regenerative farm is owned by Amanda and Adrian Currie, who like to challenge the status quo — from projects like sheep dairying and sunflower growing, to drawing on the passions of young agriculture students. It has been an incredible experience for our team to work with Tinwald Farm to help them achieve their sustainability goals. 

Over the years, our team at Landpro has become an integral part of Tinwald Farm's journey. We've offered our expertise in many ways, bringing both advice and creativity to the table to enhance their practices and sustainability efforts. 

Tiny Home Accommodation: Creating a Sustainable Community 

Brodie Costello, our Senior Planner and a jack-of-all trades, collaborated with Tinwald Farm to establish tiny homes on the premises, serving as accommodation for workers or students. The comprehensive project involved the planning and the submission of multiple consent applications.  

The accommodation, implemented in two stages, comprised of two three-bedroom units, four one-bedroom units, a gym, and a communal facility equipped with a laboratory. Beyond offering a communal space for workers, this shared facility supports essential microscopy work contributing to the farm's agricultural and viticultural operations. Brodie explained that the microscopic perspective allows them to assess the effectiveness of their practices, enabling adjustments in areas with different soil characteristics. 

Challenges often spark creativity, and our team seized the opportunity to think innovatively. When concerns arose regarding the visual impact of the buildings, our team, in collaboration with Amanda Currie, the farm owner, devised a unique solution—planting annual flowers such as sunflowers. This not only added aesthetic appeal, but also meant that Tinwald Farm could harvest the sunflower seeds for use on the farm.  

Sunflowers, thriving in summer, coincided with peak tourism traffic, addressing the visual impact concerns raised in the consents process. Brodie highlighted that traditional screen planting would typically involve "a row of pines or pittosporums, or something pretty boring," whereas sunflowers were a different solution.  

Brodie reflected on the uniqueness of the project, stating, "The coolest part was that it was something different. It’s great to put forward a project with a positive spin on it and introducing something visually appealing to the area." 

So, if you find yourself driving past Tinwald Farm this summer, keep an eye out for a 6-metre-wide strip of sunflowers along the roadside of State Highway 6. 

sunflowers on highway in otago

Sheep Dairying: Exactly as it Sounds. 

Our team assisted Tinwald Farm with yet another unique project – establishing a sheep dairying operation.  

“Sheep Dairying is fairly unusual, and not very common at all down south.  I'm only aware of one other commercial operation in Southland doing sheep dairying. It’s certainly something a bit different compared to regular dairy milking,” explained Brodie. 

Tinwald Farm wanted to start sheep milking and making sheep cheese on their farm. They approached us for assistance in preparing a resource consent application to the Otago Regional Council, aiming to gain approval for milking up to 300 sheep and establishing the necessary infrastructure for handling animal waste. This involved the construction of a milking shed, concrete sumps, and storage tanks to manage the effluent produced.  

Aligning with their regenerative objectives, we aided them in securing a discharge permit to responsibly spread the effluent across the farm. Brodie said he made sure that obtaining consent from the Otago Regional Council was a straightforward process as possible.  

Our team provided guidance on the best areas for effluent application, minimising potential environmental effects by reducing the inputs needed on their farm whilst avoiding spreading too close to waterways, roads, and neighbouring houses. Strategic consideration was given to the location of lower, less productive paddocks, directing effluent use to enhance growth in those areas. Now, Tinwald Farm can reduce their reliance on external fertilisers, promoting overall farm health. 

NZTA Stock Underpass: Ensuring a Safe Passage for Livestock  

Another project we were involved with was the surveying and construction of a stock and vehicle underpass beneath State Highway 6. The goal was to create a safer pathway for moving livestock and machinery within the farm eliminating the need for them to cross the highway. 

Under the guidance of Richard Ford our team handled topographic surveying, earthwork plans, construction design, setout, and applications for roading permissions to facilitate the project. Collaborating closely with construction contractors and Aspiring Highways (on behalf of Waka Kotahi), we ensured the successful completion of the stock underpass. 

This project not only prioritised the safety of both workers and livestock, but also showcased our team's dedication in navigating complex regulatory processes for roading permissions. The outcome is a robust underpass, which ensures the well-being of Tinwald Farm's livestock and safety of staff, while minimising disruptions to highway traffic. 

Stock underpass being built

The Future of Farming 

It's fair to say that our work with Tinwald Farm so far has been diverse and collaborative - which is just how we like it! From creating tiny home communities to pioneering sheep dairying and building safe livestock infrastructure, we've relished the opportunity to think creatively.  

Tinwald Farm Owner Amanda Currie says that as they have developed their business, they’ve used Landpro for advice and help when navigating the regulatory environment in their region. 

On the relationship, she explained, “what I like most about Landpro is their willingness to get alongside us and understand what we are trying to achieve. I know I can rely on them to deliver expert advice to the highest professional standards across a range of regulatory activity. That makes them my advisers of choice whether it’s a detailed consent we need or just a sounding board for ideas.” 

By embracing Tinwald's visionary sustainability goals, we’ve been able to take a positive and innovative approach to agricultural development. As this forward-thinking farm continues to practise regenerative agriculture, we will remain a trusted partner on their journey. 

Expanding a Quarry in Central Otago: Striking a Balance between Environmental Sustainability and Aggregate Demand

Central Otago is a place of unrivalled beauty and uniqueness, with abundant orchards, diverse wildlife, and captivating landscapes. Amidst the beauty of Otago, the region's progress in infrastructure, road development, and residential areas is moving at a fast pace. 

To meet the increasing demand for aggregate needed for the region's ongoing developments, Amisfield Quarry sought our guidance in expanding and deepening their quarry. As proud Cromwell locals, we gladly offered a helping hand. Our mission was clear, help our client secure a steady supply of aggregate to meet growing demands, while preserving the unique beauty of our region. 

Having a local aggregate supply is essential for Central Otago. It's the key to meeting resource demands for roading, residential, industrial, and commercial developments – essentially, you can't build much without processed rock and sand. The advantage of having a nearby supply is two-fold, reducing carbon emissions and cutting down on transportation costs from distant sources, while also limiting the number of trucks and consequently, roading maintenance costs.  

Our Technical Planning Lead – Energy, Minerals & Infrastructure, Matt Curran explained, “our mindset in the process was that we wanted to obtain resource consent for the Quarry that they can implement, and implement successfully, whilst doing right by the environment.” 

The task at hand 

Amisfield Quarry is one of a few local aggregate suppliers aiming to keep pace with demand, so we were keen to offer our full support for their expansion project. Guided Matt’s expertise, we embarked on this ambitious project. Our goal was to secure all the necessary consents and craft top-notch development plans and strategic advisory for the quarry's expansion and future longevity.  

Engaging with stakeholders 

Matt's strong understanding of large infrastructure projects and his technical expertise in mineral extraction proved essential in securing resource consent for the project.  

Collaboration was at the heart of the approach. Engaging in open dialogues between our experts and various stakeholders from the start, including neighbouring landowners, local Iwi, the Department of Conservation, relevant councils and the Department of Conservation, we worked together to devise solutions that were incorporated into the expansion plans, ensuring a sustainable project for everyone involved.   

The journey had its fair share of challenges. Throughout the consultation process, the Department of Conservation voiced valid concerns about preserving vegetation and wildlife on their adjoining land. This led to a range of discussions focused on addressing the possible impact of noise and dust from the expansion.  

Concerns were also raised by neighbouring landowners, including cherry orchard owners. Their primary concern was the potential dust production caused by the expansion. They worried that the settling dust on their produce could lead to its rejection for export. 

Responding to the challenges  

This project encountered region-specific challenges related to the dry climate and the importance of horticulture. We were determined to effectively address these distinctive aspects to achieve a positive outcome for all. 

Calling on the experts  

To conquer the challenges we faced, we assembled a dynamic team of experts. On the dream team was Landpro’s very experienced Principal Environmental Consultant Mike Freeman, who provided valuable advice on water quality effects with practical balanced solutions for all parties. Landpro’s Survey team played a crucial role in planning and conducting drone work during the early stages which established a fantastic plan base to work options from.  Additionally, Landpro engaged insights from experts from different companies to address aspects related to landscape, horticulture, noise, and air quality. 

Adaptability was key to the project’s success. Harnessing cutting-edge technology, we skilfully implemented measures that reduced dust and noise effects, ensuring optimal outcomes for all stakeholders, and preserving the environment's integrity.   

Navigating Concerns and Securing Consent  

To tackle these challenges, the quarry adopted a set of proactive measures, these included maintaining a high level of moisture across the quarry to effectively control and minimise dust, with plans to apply a sealing gel over the quarry material, when needed. Another measure was making sure that certain work was conducted only during periods when the wind direction was favourable.  

Despite the challenges the project had to overcome; Matt expressed that the whole project team was great to work with. He was able to compile all the information from the technical experts, combining their efforts to propose an economic and environmentally sound proposal.  

Matt explained, “my job was to come up with consent conditions that would address the effects, and could be implemented without too much cost, time, or hassle.”  

With the consent, the quarry expansion was set into motion, keeping stakeholders and the environment in mind. Both our team and the team at Amisfield Quarry were committed to balancing the economic development of Otago alongside environmental sustainability.  

"We appreciated Landpro's expertise in a particularly challenging project. The partnership, characterised by expert problem-solving and environmentally conscious solutions, ensured the successful expansion of the Quarry while also prioritising the interests of all stakeholders" said Amisfield Quarry’s Project Manager Tyler Sharratt. 

With enthusiasm and a passion for sustainable practice, Landpro embraced the challenges of the quarry expansion project. The team was able to address all potential effects, obtain the necessary consents, and pave the way for the quarry to proceed with their work, all the while preserving Otago’s unique beauty.   

Backing success in surveying!

Becoming a Licensed Cadastral Surveyor is no walk in the park, and after 10 years of surveying in both NZ and aboard Kat Adams one of our Cromwell based Surveyors has decided to tackle the in-depth licensing process head on with the help and support of her manager, Nathan Archer.

Kat Adams on site performing a survey.

The licensing process is a multi-step process, starting after university and takes around 4 years in total to build up the required experience and competency to complete the licensing framework. Kat is currently in the physical evidence component of her licensing, having completed the knowledge acquisition of land legislation acts and passing the required laws and regulations exam. This includes compiling evidence on projects that she has worked on to demonstrate her competency in all areas of surveying.

To gain the evidence component, Kat has been working with WFH Properties on their large residential subdivision in Wanaka. This has been a great local project for Kat to sink her teeth from start to finish designing the engineering and scheme plans, setting out of the physical works to collating all relevant documentation in preparation for council submission and approval.

Once Kat has completed the project, she will undergo a professional, in-person interview with a select panel from Survey and Spatial New Zealand.  Upon passing the professional interview Kat will apply to the Cadastral Survey Licensing Board for an annual- practicing licence and will have the ability to certify her own survey plans and review other colleagues' plans.

A big part of the process is having a supportive mentor who has been through the process before to provide guidance on what the licensing process entails from a practical sense and lucky for Kat, we have just the guy – Nathan Archer! Nathan has been in the surveying game for over 28 years, and with Landpro for an impressive 10 years. It’s Nathan’s professional reputation amongst our clients of working collaboratively and providing them with practical tailored solutions that makes him a great as our South Island Survey Manager and mentor for Kat.  

Nathan says ‘Kat has what it takes to become an excellent Licenced Cadastral Surveyor and is heading towards a promising professional career.  After completing the four-year Bachelor of Surveying degree at University of Otago, many graduates take a step back and concentrate on working in the industry for a while before tackling the “licencing process”.  It’s typically a bit daunting and is important to realise that licencing is the next biggest thing in a Cadastral surveyor’s career post university. 

Kat is part of an experienced team of licensed cadastral surveyors and survey technicians who are specialists in all aspects of subdivision design and layout from boundary identifications and adjustments to house and site setouts and project management of the entire process.

As a company we are always eager to grow our team’s skill set and challenge them to further develop in their roles and careers. We are proud to be supporting Kat through the licensing process providing her with the time and project experience required to complete this, and hands on support and guidance from her manager Nathan Archer.

Great News for Southland Farmers with Recycle South Beginning Bale Wrap Recycling

Recycle South has been operating in the Southland region for over 40 years, beginning as an Industrial Work Training Unit in 1974. The not-for-profit organization has always had a social purpose, doing great things for equality and the environment. They started out as a service to enrich the lives of people with disabilities by providing meaningful employment and personal development and have since expanded to become one of Southland’s key recycling services, handling curbside recycling for the Southland and Invercargill district councils, as well as agricultural plastic, e-waste, business collection, and more.

Now, they’re tackling a huge problem for farmers across the region – how to get rid of their bale wrap in a sustainable way. Bale wrap is a huge concern, as often the only option farmers are left with to dispose of it is to burn or bury the plastic, which is extremely harmful to the environment.

Photo from Recycle South.

Recycle South’s vision was to give farmers a cost-effective way to dispose of their bale wrap, by getting it off farm, and recycling it to give it another purpose. Their new recycling plant has now been built in Makareka to process and repurpose bale wrap off farms from Southland through to South Canterbury.

Hamish McMurdo, General Manager at Recycle South, says: “We are very excited to provide this solution for the rural community. The success of it relies on everyone’s support and use of the service. Recycle South encourages all users of bale wrap to get on board and support the disabled community by sending us your bale wrap, while caring for the environment along the way. We have appreciated the work that Brodie and the Landpro team have put in to ensure we are able to provide this service.”

Recycle South allows farmers to drop off bale wrap at $150 + GST per tonne (approximately 15 cents per bale). There is no minimum drop-off weight, as their goal is to make it as easy as possible for local farmers. The bale wrap is washed on-site to ensure the result is a clean plastic that can be exported and reused. The material is then filtered and processed by a Pelletiser into pure resin pellets, packed, and sent overseas.

Photo from Recycle South.

As well as ensuring bale wrap isn’t burned, buried, or sent to the landfill, it also provides jobs and opportunities for locals and those with disabilities.

Landpro worked with Recycle South through the consenting process for their new plant – undertaking a site investigation to check paddocks to ensure drainage was up to standard, as well as drafting and submitting their consent application. They also consulted with the local iwi to ensure that the Makarewa river is protected.

Brodie, a Planner here at Landpro who worked on the consenting process, says “It was great helping Recycle South on the consents for their new recycling facility, which will ensure that plastic ag wrap is removed off farms and transformed into a new product to be reused”.

Surveying Christchurch from above

You may have noticed a couple of small aircraft flying over Christchurch recently, we are working on an aerial survey project to learn more about the changing shape of Christchurch.

Mike Borthwick, Executive Director says surveying and mapping helps to ensure efficient development and use of land.

“We are often involved in regional, environmental and Resource Management planning, for which aerial and land surveys are essential“ Mike says.  “Aerial survey allows for the right accuracy, resolution and detail for more large-scale jobs and our team of planners and scientists use the information to ensure the best strategies are applied.”

Our aircrafts ZK-JGA and ZK-ROC are currently undertaking a high-resolution survey of the greater Christchurch area. The data from this survey will enable Christchurch to lead the way in sustainable and efficient design and development in future.

Mike says completing this survey will require a large number of flight lines backwards and forwards over the city. He says to keep the amount of flying to a minimum, operations are being scheduled outside commercial airline flight operations times and tidal windows, which may mean that flights are conducted between 7am and 9pm.

“We are working closely with Airways Corporation, who control the airspace around Christchurch,” he says. “All our aerial surveying complies with air safety regulations. This includes flying above 3000ft and operating within specific hours set by Airways to avoid interfering with commercial flight paths. We realise this may be an unwelcome annoyance for some, and apologise to anyone our aerial work will disrupt.”

Our aerial work is expected to be completed within the next six to eight weeks, subject to weather.

Southland wintering barn given the go ahead!

The consent application process can often be a tricky one with a lot of paperwork, especially when you’ve got something that’s a little out of the ordinary. It can require detailed reports, engaging of third-parties to provide local authorities with adequate evidence of what you are wanting to achieve, this doesn’t have to be a daunting process if you are prepared to work through the process and are up for the challenge, it may just pay off and it has for one of our clients recently.

Our Otago and Southland based Planning and Environmental teams worked with the Scott Brothers – Aaron and Mark to achieve their goal of gaining a land use consent to establish new wintering barns for their organic farm near Te Anau, Southland.  Aaron and Mark were looking for a solution to address some of the adverse effects of having cows on their property during the winter months.

The initial application proposal was met with some opposition during the public consultation phase, our team worked through the feedback from this consultation with Aaron and Mark in conjunction with various regulatory bodies such as Southland District Council, iwi, the Department of Conservation and neighbours to find a resolution that could work for everyone. As a result of this consultation, the decision was made to reduce the scale of the proposal from four smaller barns to two larger barns. Although the scale of the barns changed from the initial proposal, Aaron and Mark accepted the recommendations and wanted to do the right thing by the environment.

Brodie Costello (Planner) and Walt Denley (Planning Team Leader) assisted Aaron and Mark in preparing the application and presenting a well-rounded, thorough proposal to the Council hearing outlining the changes they had made to their proposal and the reduced environmental impacts from housing cows in the barns. This resulted in the granting of their consent at the end of January 2023.

We were proud to be able to work with Aaron and Mark Scott to help bring their vision to life, and we look forward to seeing their wintering barns up and running in the near future. Our experienced team of planners have a reputation for thinking outside the box and working collaboratively with our clients to provide solutions that are practical, fit for purpose with the environment at the forefront.

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ORC Lakes Management Project - Complete!

You may have noticed in the media recently that the review work for the Otago Regional Council (ORC)’s lakes project has been completed.

Landpro were called in earlier this year to study the current state of the region’s lakes and determine whether an Otago Lakes Strategy was potentially needed. The lakes are a taonga (treasure) and of huge importance to the region, as outlined in our previous article announcing the award of this project to Landpro and by the Otago Regional Council in their announcement on the project’s conclusion.

The challenge the ORC was facing was a lack of baseline data to determine the current health of our lakes and ensure they maintain their quality moving forward. To tackle this project and provide evidence-based recommendations, Landpro were to perform a full stocktake on the current state of knowledge about the lakes, their value to the community, their environmental status, existing pressures, and the existing framework for managing the lakes throughout the region.

This involved completing a study to understand the current state, including:

  • Establishing which lakes to include, from over 7,000 mapped lakes in the region. We narrowed it down to a subset of 83 lakes to study – providing a representative cross-section. The lakes were divided into five categories: Deep water lakes, remote high-altitude lakes, accessible high-altitude lakes, dams and reservoirs, and coastal/lowland lakes.
  • A literature review to summarise the existing environmental state of Otago’s lakes, determined by water quality and ecological health.
  • A full review of the relevant lake management documents, plans, policies, and management strategies to understand how Otago’s lakes are currently being managed.
  • Collating the available information on the value of lakes to the community, drawn from previous ORC and community-led consultations, cultural values statements, and Iwi Management Plans.
  • Seeking feedback from 86 key stakeholder groups involved in the region’s lakes management, through conducting surveys and informal interviews.

The resulting report summarised the outcomes of this study, and its findings formed the basis for our recommendations to the ORC. Our conclusions and draft recommendations were presented to stakeholders in two workshops, held in Cromwell and virtually. Feedback from these workshops, alongside comments from ORC staff, were incorporated into the final report and recommendations for the ORC.

The primary recommendation was that an Otago Lakes Strategy was needed. This recommendation was accepted by Otago Regional Council at a meeting in December. In total, 43 recommendations were included for the council to enhance lakes management in the region.

The council has now agreed to move into phase 2 of a lakes management scoping study and create a working group for this project. This will clarify the purpose, scope and function of a lakes plan.

Claire Perkins, Landpro Planning Manager and Project Leader, says “Our team really enjoyed getting stuck into this project and engaging with stakeholders across the region to understand how management of our lakes is or isn’t working. It is great to see ORC taking our recommendations on board and we look forward to an opportunity to work with the council in the future to improve lakes management across the region.”

Landpro announced as Strategic Partner for National Ballance Farm Environment Awards

Landpro is the most recent Strategic Partner for the Ballance Farm Environmental Awards. The Ballance Farm Environmental Awards (BFEA) showcase New Zealand farmers and growers who are using innovative business practices that contribute to a sustainable future for our primary industries. The awards are renowned for encouraging farmers to improve their environmental impact, championing sustainability, and celebrating the achievements of farmers and growers nationwide. The awards take place regionally throughout the year, with winners from each region sent to the national awards set to take place at Te Pae, Christchurch this November. 

Landpro’s range of services can be a critical step for many business owners looking to enter the awards, including supporting farmers and growers to produce a practical Farm Environmental Plan that balances profitability and sustainability to achieve their goals. The strategic partnership with BFEA aligns strongly with Landpro’s business mission and values, focusing strongly on the sustainability of both their business and New Zealand’s primary industries in their long-term business plan, which takes them to 2040. 

Jason Harvey Wills, CEO at Landpro explains: “The Ballance Farm Environmental Awards offer a great opportunity for farmers and growers to gain constructive feedback from experts in the field and share ideas within the industry. We are strongly aligned with the BFEA through one of our core values 'be your best', which relates not only to our company and our staff, but to helping our farmers consistently work toward high performance in the environmental space. At Landpro, we believe that farming is and always will be a fantastic industry for New Zealand, and these awards are a great way to showcase those who are not only meeting mandatory requirements but contributing to the sustainable future of New Zealand farming." 

Entrants gain the opportunity to have their business assessed by peers and industry experts, who offer free advice, feedback, and recommendations along the way. The assessment takes a holistic approach, looking at every aspect of the farm system, which offers a unique opportunity for New Zealand business owners to gain insight into their achievements and opportunities for development. Many regional winners host field days at their property to share their achievements and ideas with others, leading to greater sustainability throughout the country in the long-term. 

Landpro’s involvement as a partner to the awards sees them providing in-kind services to support the awards process. Their key focus to date has been helping review the Judging Assessment Framework, aiming to support judges with a more efficient site visit process. 

Kim Reilly, National Farm Environmental Manager at Landpro, explains their work with the BFEA so far: “BFEA has been great to work with. We have been helping them ensure their documentation reflects the most current regulations and issues, as well as reviewing their site visit process.  Improving consistency, while retaining judges’ regional autonomy and flexibility remains an important part of the BFEA process. At Landpro, we are constantly working to educate our customers and partners on current regulation and best practice, which makes this a great fit for us. With the new documentation and processes, judges can more easily assess farming practices in relation to the most current challenges and goals we're seeing in the farming industry here in New Zealand.” 

All regional winners are due to compete for the top awards at a national level in November. See the regional award winners to date at

A blast from the past – celebrating 15 years of Landpro

Landpro has gone from a little 2-person office in Cromwell to a team of over 70, with some of the best tech in the country, managing complex projects nationwide. As the company turns 15, their staff are looking back on the company’s growth, milestones, and the stories along the way.  

Founders Kath and Kate had worked together before and saw a huge opportunity back in 2007 to provide planning and surveying services to the Otago and Southland regions. It may well have been the Bannockburn pinots and crisp blue lakes that sold them on the location in Cromwell, but their story is it was the perfect spot to access the whole region, and they’re sticking to it! They started out as a sister office to BTW, called BTW South. 

Within the first 12 months of business, they’d outgrown that first little office, with a graduate Surveyor and a Planner coming on board. The wave of growth continued at a pretty steady rate year on year until Mike came on board as Shareholder & Director in 2012, and they outgrew the second office to end up at their current spot on Pinot Noir Drive (yeah, the pinots had to have something to do with it!).

Since then, Landpro has reached countless milestones – here are just some of the highlights according to the team: 

  • 2013: Recognition – The first major milestone in terms of business recognition within the community, winning the Central Otago Business Excellence Awards. 
  • 2014: Going aerial - Buying their very first drone, which enabled them to branch into the aerial surveying space - allowing a huge expansion of services. 
  • 2017: Growing up - finally big enough to bring on their very own CEO!  
  • 2018: Sylvie joins the team – Entering the big kids club, with the first plane. A Cessna 337 Skymaster, named Sylvie for her tail number ZK-SVY. 
  • 2018: winning the Otago Chamber of Commerce Primary Industry Excellence Awards 
  • 2021: their biggest growth spurt yet – adding a massive 17 people to the team 

We talked to founders Kath and Kate about their favourite memories along the way.  

Kath: “I remember this one funny moment looking back to the start of our business. We were going to a meeting with our potential new banker, and Kate and I were both pregnant, and we’re going - do we both admit we’re pregnant right now as we ask for funding for this business?? It turned out great, he was very understanding and took a punt on us, securing a loan against these two pregnant ladies with big ideas.” 

Kate: “For me, lots of our fun memories come from our annual Landpro staff weekends – they’re a highlight of every year! A ski weekend, the Amazing Race, the Landpro Olympics. One of my favourites has to be The Landies – a movie weekend where we all had to make movies about Landpro. Lots of laughs have been had across the years and it’s still that way as we continue to grow our team with the right people.” 

When reflecting on their success, Kate says it’s all down to relationships. “Looking back at our first 100 jobs ever created, more than half are clients that we have ongoing relationships with or are continuing to work with now in a variety of ways”.  They also place a huge importance on staff and company culture. 

Celebrating success 

As a team that likes to work hard, they naturally like to celebrate success as a team too! They held their 15th birthday celebration night at the Cromwell Golf Club - photos below. What a fantastic way to celebrate with the people and their partners who help create that success.  

Looking to the future 

Jason, CEO of Landpro says: “We’ve got some big plans coming for the future. Just this year, we’ve done some growth planning, mapping out our vision through to 2040. High on the priority list is taking care of our people, focusing on sustainability for future generations, and expanding our services and service areas.” 

Tune in for more about their sustainability and growth plans at or on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn

Important new changes affecting rural land’s subdivision potential and landholding status

The Ministry for the Environment (MfE) has just released a National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land (NPS-HL) that seeks to direct new housing developments away from highly productive land, where this is possible.

Even though the NPS has just been released, it takes legal effect and impacts potential subdivision activities and resource consent applications from 17 October 2022. There are definitely some “warning signs” with this NPS, with quick drafting leaving implementation unclear.

The NPS-HL directs councils to map and identify all areas of General Rural or Rural Production land that contains Land Use Capability (LUC) 1, 2 or 3 soils. As a result, some subdivision activities on highly productive land will become prohibited, and others will need to satisfy specified criteria before they can be granted resource consent.

To provide a balanced opinion on this matter we note, “The NPS poses a planning conundrum for many farmers, horticulturalists and communities” says Landpro’s CEO Jason Harvey-Wills, “On one hand the need to protect high quality soils for food and fibre is very important and will provide a level of protection sought for a number of our clients. On the other hand, a lot of the soils around the outskirts of current towns and cities fall within LUC 1, 2, or 3, so this NPS also potentially removes the “option” of future development for those owners.”

Many farmers currently ‘subdivide’ to provide for family accommodation, extended worker accommodation or to retain the option for owners diversifying a portion of their land. Others may be holding onto subdivision land as part of their retirement options. As Walt Denley, Landpro’s South Island based Planning Manager, explains “the key message for people is that if your property has LUC 1, 2 or 3 soils then that is now relevant, and you will need to have a solid argument of why any subdivision is still appropriate on the land”.

If this applies to you, you must take action before 17 October 2022, after which your property classification will be assessed under the terms of the new NPS.

Councils are already trying to juggle the requirements and timeframes coming from Central Government under the NPS-Freshwater Management 2020, the NPS Urban Development, and now the NPS for Highly Productive Soils, and soon the NPS Indigenous Biodiversity. This is becoming quite a complex and resource intensive space.

For our valued current and future clients, “we wanted to make sure you’re aware of these changes” says Helen Duncan, Landpro’s North Island based Planning Manager, “especially if you are sitting on a potential controlled activity subdivision, for example in Stratford, South Taranaki, Otago or Southland, before the Councils are forced into Plan changes”.

Landpro Executive Director Kath Hooper explains “people who disagree with their land classification (and/or who have development aspirations for it) also need to be aware that the maps will be locked in by the regional planning process, and that’s their only chance to have a say on the classification of their property. It is critical that they stay informed and involved throughout these future planning processes.”

We encourage our clients and potential clients to contact us for more information in this space. You can find more information in this article from Anderson Lloyd Lawyers.


Mapping out what Central Otago does best

We’re well-known for our orchards here in Central Otago – from stone fruits to award-winning pinot noirs, our region is perfect for it. You only have to drive into town to see it’s a big part of who we are! Sometimes referred to as Central Otago’s treasure. Grab a real fruit ice cream on your way to snap a selfie with the big fruit.

As Cromwell locals, we’ve worked on a fair few orchards, from initial land surveys and planning to orchard and building development. Most recently, we’ve been working closely with Hortinvest on Lindis Peaks Orchard out on Deep Creek Road, Tarras. Hortinvest have been in the game since 2016, and we've partnered with them on several projects in Central Otago including Mt Pisa, Lindis Peaks, and Ardgour Valley.

We got involved in the Deep Creek Road project at an early stage – to survey the land and help with planning, from subdivision and land use consents to orchard planting maps and packhouse construction. Hortinvest partnered with us to lay the groundwork for them to deliver the surveying, consenting, and civil engineering designs for both the orchard and supporting Lindis Coolpac Packhouse in Tarras on a separate site.

Sharon Kirk, Co-founder of Hortinvest, explains: “What we do is not achieved on our own. Landpro is our strategic partner in creating these orchards, mapping and planning from the get-go. They’re awesome to work with - the team is really motivated, and they take the time to explain what needs to be done and the exact steps to get there. To have a professional team you can work with at that initial stage makes all the difference.”

A key deliverable for us when orchard planning is producing specialist virtual maps. When it gets to planting, these maps are critical as they are used to quantify the required infrastructure i.e. the number of trees, posts and even the net canopy lengths and areas.  The virtual maps are also used in our GPS systems to set out the orchard irrigation lines and the lines that will be used for automated planting. To assist with planting our survey team set out the orchard row alignment on the ground and the tractor then locks on the line using its GPS system. With the desired tree spacing dialed into the planter, the tractor works its magic one row at a time.      

Hortinvest using Landpro maps on GPS to optimise tree planting

We tackled this particular orchard project in 3 stages:

  1. Survey and planning

The land is mapped by our survey team at the very start of the orchard planning process.  This informs land use consents, submitted by our planning team and is a base model used by our survey team for any orchard work. 

Once mapping is complete, we meet with Ross Kirk to create a virtual orchard in our mapping software. The virtual orchard map allows us to quantify the materials required to construct the orchard.  Knowing the exact number of trees needed is essential given the lead time required to get thousands of trees from the nursery to the site at precisely the right time to coincide with irrigation install! Lindis Peaks now has a total of 50,000 trees.

The virtual orchard maps are sent onto other consultants to plan the irrigation systems. The completed irrigation maps are then returned to our survey team and can be uploaded to our GPS systems and set out in the field for construction of the irrigation system and planting.

  1. Expansion and water storage

To add to the fun, our planning and survey team got involved in concept design and consenting the dam for the orchard.  We worked alongside third parties for this part, to design a 29,000 cubic metre reservoir that will be capable of providing frost fighting supply to the orchard and the packhouse operation. 

  1. Planning the Lindis Coolpac Packhouse in Tarras

Finally, on a separate site, we tackled the initial work towards constructing hte Lindis Coolpac Packhouse to support the orchard, with room for growth to service other orchards in the group.  The building site was chosen for its easy access for trucks – based close to the Christchurch-Cromwell highway.  From surveying to earthworks design and building placement, we helped to make sure they were set up for success as they carry out the build and for their future operation on-site.  Building consents for the Lindis Coolpac Packhouse all included Landpro’s earthworks designs, and we laid out the foundations for future needs (such as the addition of a carpark).

The Lindis Coolpac packhouse plot as at April 2022.

Nathan Archer, Survey Manager at Landpro says: “I love working with Ross, Sharon, and the Hortinvest team. They’re a fantastic bunch of people and I get a real feeling of family and commitment from them too. For Landpro, it’s a start to finish project - we are involved all along the way, and that’s what we love. I personally receive a lot of satisfaction in seeing ideas that were sparked years before coming to fruition and built on site!” 

Of course, the work spot has jaw dropping views to boot! Can’t complain.

So, where are we at now? 

We've been busy installing nets at Lindis Peak and Mt Pisa orchards, and lifting the roof on the Lindis Coolpac Packhouse. Take a look at Hortinvest's winter update video below to see more.

Locals Supporting Locals

An awesome team of passionate experts has been supporting Seaport Land Company (SLC) at the New Plymouth District Council Plan Hearings in the last week, and our Executive Director Kath Hooper is extremely proud to be among them!

‘The commitment to, and clarity of SLC’s vision is second to none’ says Kath. ‘This is an epic opportunity for New Plymouth’. Commissioners will provide their recommendations to council in coming months, and we expect NPDC’s decision in early 2023.

SLC are seeking re-zoning of their land to enable a marine focused, mixed use precinct on the old coolstore sites in Moturoa, which is on Ōtaka Pā. The project will open up the site, and be co-designed with Ngāti Te Whiti. 

Find out more about the project here; Seaport Ngāmotu Precinct Development


REX Podcast with Jason Harvey-Wills

Recently our CEO Jason Harvey-Wills sat down with Hamish McKay and Laura Koot from the REX Podcast to chat about our partnership with the Dairy Women's Network and what's to come! 

Listen via Spotify -

Evidence-based lake management project underway in Otago

Over the past few years, there have been concerns raised by the public about the management and strategy of our lakes within the Otago region. There’s a reason we’re known as the Southern Lakes region, with over 75 named lakes in Otago (not to mention many smaller ponds, dams, and tarns that take that number to 7,000+) that are important not only for our tourism and energy industries, but also the life of our communities. Concerns have been raised about the increase in human activity on the lakes in recent decades, without any concrete knowledge of the impact it’s having. Alongside this is the recognition that managing the diverse range of lakes in the region is complex, with multiple agencies involved and a wide variety of issues and pressures. 

The Otago Regional Council project has been won by local company Landpro Limited which has already begun work on it, since the day it was awarded. The final project report will be used by Council to determine whether there is a need for a new Otago Lakes Strategy or if there are other opportunities for initiatives that will enhance management of lakes within the region. 

Landpro’s Planning and Environmental team will do a complete stock take of all 75 named lakes and other small waterways in the region. From there, they will categorize the lakes into management subsets before investigating and recording the management frameworks currently in place, confirming the value communities place on lakes across Otago, and identifying any gaps in our current knowledge. This information will be used to inform Council about the next steps toward the employing the most effective management and strategy options. 

“Being involved in a project so critical to the future of our region is super important to us as a local environmental consultancy company. We run offices and hubs in Cromwell, Wanaka and Dunedin and we’re always excited to be involved at a community level, speaking to different stakeholders about their concerns and liaising with the council to seek strong practical outcomes” says Landpro CEO Jason Harvey-Wills. 

Landpro Planning Manager & Project Leader Claire Perkins adds: “Our team here at Landpro have previously completed the Upper Clutha Community Catchment Plan for Wai Wānaka, so we come into this project with some great existing data to get us started and help push the project forward quickly for its fast production turnaround timeframe”. 

James Adams, Otago Regional Council’s Policy and Project Manager, says “It has been great to get this project moving so quickly, especially with its tight timeframes, and it’s a bonus also that we’re able to engage a local consultancy with such a strong track record and understanding in this space”.  

More information to come as the project evolves. 


20ft relief container reaches Tongan villages

We had some great news recently that the 20ft container full of supplies (food, blankets, etc) reached Tonga safely. The container was organised by local Lions Clubs and Central Otago Tongan Families, with the help of a number of businesses in our community. After the eruption/tsunami earlier this year, Tonga has been rebuilding and we’re happy to have been able to contribute to some relief for the families to two Tongan villages. 

Our incredible community here in Central Otago came together quickly to contribute to this cause and continue to help the people struggling to rebuild their own communities after the disaster. We were over the moon to see all of the supplies arrive safely. 

Jason Harvey-Wills, Chief Executive Officer at Landpro, expands on what it meant for the business to contribute to this cause: "I'm always proud of our company being in a position to support our local communities in reaching their goals and giving something back. One of our three company values is "collaboration" and seeing our fantastic community rally together to come up with something practical in a time of need was an easy decision to support. Times are very challenging in New Zealand as a business without a doubt, but we're lucky enough to not have to worry about our basic needs being met like food, water, and shelter at this stage. So our thinking was why not help those that have been impacted by this disaster." 

Community contribution is huge for the team at Landpro and the local Lions have done an amazing job at co-ordinating this support.


The latest on dam safety regulations

On May 12th, 2022, the government released the Building (Dam Safety) Regulations 2022. As the name suggests, these regulations introduce new safety requirements for medium to large dams that will likely affect many dam owners and operators throughout the country.

The regulations come into effect on 13 May 2024, meaning dam owners have roughly 2 years to acquaint themselves with the regulations and take steps to ensure that their dams and associated paperwork are consistent with the regulations prior to them coming into force. The stated intent of the regulations is to introduce a consistent regulatory dam safety framework that will bring the safety of New Zealand dams back up to the level of other OECD countries, which have all had similar regulations in place for some time. Much of the focus of the regulations is on managing the potential risk to people, property and environment in the event of a dam failure.

First things first – do you have a dam on your property? A dam is defined under the Building Act as an artificial structure that holds back water under constant pressure to form a reservoir. This includes instream weirs, out-of-stream reservoirs, and even natural features that have been modified to function as dams or structures that hold back water to a certain extent.

Next – do the regulations apply to your dam? A dam that is subject to the regulations is called a “classifiable dam”. A classifiable dam is:

  • 4 or more metres in height and stores 20,000 m3 or more; or
  • 1 or more metres in height and stores 40,000 m3 or more.

Dam height is measured from the top of the dam crest to the lowest outside elevation or the dam wall – meaning it is the above-ground height of the dam that matters, not the internal depth.

If your dam is classifiable, you will have up to 3 months after the regs commence (13 May 2024) to submit a potential impact classification (PIC) to the relevant regional authority. This is essentially an assessment of the potential impact a dam might have on the community, infrastructure or the natural environment. In theory, you can determine your dam’s PIC yourself, but if a dam is on the larger side it tends to be more efficient to employ a technical practitioner (such as an engineer) to do it for you. The PIC will then need to be audited and approved by a suitably qualified engineer, and then submitted to the regional authority.

Dams which have a medium or high PIC will have to prepare and submit a dam safety assurance programme within a certain time period. Low-PIC dams are off the hook at this point!

There is plenty more information on the regulations and their roll-out here. Landpro regularly work with dam owners for their permits and approvals, and can help to put you in touch with dam safety specialists who can walk you through the process. Reach out if you’d like us to give you a hand!

Understanding Landscape Resilience with Thriving Southland

Catchment Groups across Southland continue to lead the way towards productive and sustainable land use, with more than 22 projects currently underway.  
'Understanding your Landscape Resilience | Beyond Regulation' involves farmers working directly with scientists to develop valuable insights that will benefit rural communities across New Zealand. It aims to provide scientific landscape data that will help land users understand, in detail, their landscape’s natural capital which will help them make decisions on what they can do to achieve their greenhouse gas (GHG) and water quality environmental objectives in a financially viable way. 

We are proud supporters of the work Thriving Southland are doing in their community to raise awareness and educate land users on the importance of landscape resilience!

Check out their short video!

Mapping the Mataura River with the latest LiDAR tech

If you’re in the Southland region, you may have seen our twin-engine plane flying up and down the Mataura River and wondered what it’s all about! We've been out there measuring the riverbed, mapping out where the gravel is and how it has moved. This will help develop a better understanding of the current flood risk and how it can be mitigated. 

We flew the river in two sections – first starting from the coastal outlet to Waikaia. We decided to fly this section first as the conditions were perfect. With the river flowing at around half its usual height at the time, the water was running clear which meant we could capture the best picture of how the riverbed looks.  

Using the newest LiDAR technology, which we’ve just purchased into New Zealand, we can gain a better picture in a much shorter timeframe. With traditional survey techniques, we would have to measure each part of the riverbank manually, and then gauge the base of the river to get the depth. Capturing every metre of the river like this would have been near impossible. 

Jason Harvey-Wills, Landpro’s General Manager, explains: “Using this LiDAR system for our clients is a New Zealand first! The ability to measure above and below the water by flight saves a massive amount of time and resources, while giving us a 100% true picture of the entire waterway and how it changes over time. By re-flying at a later date, we’re able to see exactly where the sediment has moved and deposited to. This is critically important for managing flood protection, gravel extraction, port dredging, and beach erosion. We’re certain this technology will provide huge benefits for New Zealand in years to come.” 

Previously, LiDAR technology was only able to measure above water, as it bounces off the surface. But this new tech, using a special green lasered bathy LiDAR, can measure both above and below water. For good measure, our team will also do some traditional cross-section measurements on the ground to ensure our digital model is correct. 

You can see what we captured in the image below. This is a digital visualization of the data captured with the LiDAR bathymetry – picked up from 600m high, flying at around 130 knots. You can see the buildings, the base of the riverbed, and the river level in red where the laser has bounced off the surface. 

 If you know the Mataura River well, you’ll be able to visualize the area behind the Mataura Paper Mill. Compare the photo below – where the cross section runs from the white building (left – the abattoir), across the river and up the paper mill side – where you can see a tree on top of a large concrete wall.  

The final section above Waikaia was less flow-critical, as the river runs clearer and at lower levels than the first. That means we were able to map and measure the full river in a matter of weeks with a level of accuracy that was near impossible before purchasing this new LiDAR into the country. We’ll be able to fly again in 1-2 years’ time to gather an accurate comparison, better understand the dynamics of the river, and better understand flood risks in the area. 

We've had a blast using this new technology and are looking forward to flying the next project. 

Look out for our pilots flying overhead and give us a wave! 

Landpro to use new tech surveying gravel build up in Southland rivers

Environment Southland is gearing up to complete a high-definition river survey in the coming weeks. The project aims to measure the amount of gravel build-up in the Mataura and Waikaia rivers. The contract was awarded to Landpro in February 2022, to survey the rivers using new technology relying on light detection and ranging equipment. This new approach offers a huge increase in the amount of data gained, with 3-dimensional data of the entire river compared to cross-section methods for around the same cost. The survey data will shed light on how much gravel and sediment is in the rivers, where it’s sitting, and the potential impact. The capture component of the project will take approximately one week.

Southland farmers have been concerned about the gravel build-up, as it washes down from the mountains and changes the course of the rivers. This impacts the local environment, eroding banks and felling trees, with the potential to impact local pastures, infrastructure, and increase the risk of floods in local townships. Locals expressed their concerns following flooding in 2021 which impacted surrounding farmers’ land and brought even more gravel down into the main river systems. Locals have called for extracting the gravel build-up from the rivers to minimise risk. Surveying is an essential part of the process, providing the right data to navigate the best solutions and resolve the gravel issue.

While Landpro has been using LiDAR for the last 5 years delivering cross section data for the land-based component of sections, this survey will be the first time in New Zealand that such enabling data will be used by council to make really informed decisions. Landpro’s geospatial team will be working closely with the Environment Southland team to assist with data multiplication of the dataset ensuring the final data is of the most benefit to Southland.

Surveying is due to start Early-March and the data gathered will be delivered to the Catchment Operations team but will be widely used across different teams within council.

Christmas Closedown

After what has been another busy and unpredictable year, our team will be taking a well deserved break over the Christmas and New Year period.

Our offices will be closed from 5pm Thursday 23 December and reopening on Monday 10 January. If you require any urgent assistance over this period, please feel free to call 0800 023 318.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a safe and Merry Christmas/New Year period and we look forward to seeing you in 2022!

Proposed Changes to Freshwater Farm Plans

This week Kate Scott, one of our Executive Directors was invited to speak as a panelist on Sarah's Country - Opinion Maker -  the panel discussed proposed Freshwater Farm Plans and Intensive Winter Grazing.

The Freshwater Space has seen a lot of change in the past 12 months from a policy/regulatory perspective, which has kept those of us working to help farmers and growers to navigate the change space on our toes trying to keep ahead of what is coming, and in trying to support this with positive action on the ground.

When these regulations first landed, its fair to say many of the requirements were unworkable, and impractical. The Ministry for the Environment has taken on board this feedback and are looking at making some changes which  will improve the workability of the rules.

Over the next couple of weeks two key pieces of the Freshwater Regulations will be closing for submissions. The Draft Freshwater Farm Plan Regulations and Stock Exclusion Regs/Low Slope Maps on the 26th Sept, while consultation on proposed changes to the Intensive Winter Grazing Rules close on 7th Oct.

If you are keen to understand how these changes might affect what you are doing, and how to have your say then take a listen to the this informative episode -



Aerial to the Rescue!

Our dedicated aerial team have been busy recently capturing vital data over Canterbury for Environment Canterbury, to help them understand the extent of the recently flooding that hit the area!

As soon as the clouds parted and the rain stopped our team were airborne, acquiring the aerial imagery of key rivers over the region across two days!

Once they were on the ground, it was a midnight dash from Cromwell to Timaru for our aerial director Mike Borthwick, to collect the data and deliver it to our processing team of Andy Burrell and Greg Wooding!

These two worked through the night to have the data processed and up on the big screens at the Disaster Management Centre the next morning!

Our team were proud to be involved in capturing and delivering this critical and time sensitive information for our clients! 

South Island Field Days

Heading to South Island Field Days on 24-26 March in Kirwee?


Come and see the Landpro team on Site 435B (Section W) to discuss how we can help you make the most of your land! 

Kate's Nuffield Presentation

Check out this short video snip it of Kate presenting her Nuffield New Zealand Report on 'Enabling Better Environmental Outcomes in Agriculture'

We are so proud of Kate and her achievements!

To listen to the full video head to - enabling better environmental outcomes in agriculture

Pyramid Valley Bridge Opening!

Pyramid Bridge Project!

For the past 18 months, Landpro in conjunction with Gore District Council, Southland District Council and Environment Southland have been working on the Pyramid Bridge rebuild. Our team were involved in the surveying, ecology and consenting components of this project and last Friday marked the official opening of the bridge!

Mike Freeman (Senior Planner/Scientist) attended the opening and was proud to have been part of this great community project!