About Rotorua's State of the Environment Monitoring and Reporting

Why monitor and report on the state of the environment?

Monitoring the State of the Environment is a requirement of section 35 of the Resource Management Act 1991. Its purpose is to measure if or how the Rotorua district environment is changing over time, to check whether policies and processes in place are effective, and whether Council is effectively carrying out its resource management functions. It highlights good, bad or neutral environmental trends.

The environment encompasses more than just the natural environment. It includes people and how they interact with the environment. People receive vital services and benefits from the environment, such as fresh air and drinking water, land to live on and resources to produce food and goods. At the same time people and the activities they undertake can have a positive or detrimental impact on the environment such as creating air pollution from smoky fires, adding contaminants to water through wastewater and storm water, and clearing land for growing food, housing and producing goods. A sustainable environment is one where a balance is struck between the health of the environment and use of the environment. The intention of reporting is to highlight where Rotorua is doing well, not so well or neutral.

Knowing these trends assists with making informed decisions on environmental issues and impacts.  Intervention to address these is often through programmes, projects and policies. Continued environmental monitoring shows the level of success these interventions make in the Rotorua environment.

State of the Environment monitoring and reporting shown on this website is at a district council level. This information can contribute to regional and national State of the Environment monitoring and reporting. The last national State of the Environment Report was released in 2008. See Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Waikato Regional Council and Ministry for the Environment websites for regional and national State of the Environment monitoring and reporting.

About the data

Data and information has been sourced from both within Council and from external sources. Care has been taken to ensure all information is accurate, however Council takes no responsibility for incorrect data or any actions that may result from the use of information reported. Maps are only intended for indicative purposes and not intended for use beyond State of the Environment monitoring and reporting. For detailed mapping requirements or reproduction of maps please contact Rotorua Lakes Council.

Reporting schedule and release of indicators

Indicators will be released four times a year. Generally indicators grouped under each of the themes will be released together. For some indicators, where data is not available for release, these indicators are delayed until data becomes available. An example may be indicators that are dependant on aerial photography analysis must wait until the aerial photography is flown, processed and made available for analysis before it can be reported on.

Data for some indicators may not be available each year. An example of this are indicators that are dependant on census data, such as dwelling counts usually done every census year (5 yearly). Where possible indicators will be updated each year. 

What is meant by ‘urban’ and ‘rural’?

Definitions for urban and rural areas are based on zones in the Rotorua Operative District Plan. Zones have been grouped according to their geographical location and activities within the zones. The table below shows the zone split between urban and rural areas used to report on indicators.



  • ​All residential zones
  • Commercial zones A to H
  • Industrial zones A and B
  • Resort zones A, B and C
  • Transitional Development Zone
  • Airport Zone
  • ​Rural zones A to F
  • Industrial zones B and C,
  • Lakes A Zone
​Both urban and rural
  • Reserves zones A and B

(These have been blended into the surrounding area, eg, if mainly in an area with residential zone around, then it will be classed as urban)

Please note that the Lakes A Zone has policy areas within the zone. Lakes A indicators have not been broken down into urban and rural areas.

Census data unavailable due to Canterbury earthquakes

Due to the Christchurch earthquakes the New Zealand Census for 2011 was postponed. Census data is used to support and inform some indicators. Where possible, alternative data sources or projections have been used. Population figures used are projections based on 2006 census and have been sourced from Statistics New Zealand.

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Feedback and continuous improvements to reporting

Council would like feedback on whether the information presented on the State of the Environment is user-friendly and useful. At the end of each of the indicators is an opportunity to fill out a comments box. To improve our reporting services tell us what information you would like to see along with suggestions on how you think it should be presented. If you have any other comments or questions please contact Rotorua Lakes Council via email environmental.reporting@rdc.govt.nz or phone (07)348-4199.

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Rotorua Lakes Council would like to acknowledge the following who provide their time, knowledge and expertise to monitor and report on the state of the environment:
  • Bay of Plenty Regional Council
  • Waikato Regional Council
  • NIWA
  • New Zealand Transport Agency
  • Statistics New Zealand
  • New Zealand Historic Places Trust
  • Rotorua Regional Airport Limited
  • Rotorua Lakes Council staff

Photographic images have been supplied by Full Frame Photography.
Page reviewed: 03 Jul 2019 10:11am