© 2022 Resilient River Communities

Resilient River Communities

River Managers' Professional Development Programme

This programme has been designed to identify a framework to raise awareness, learning and development pathways and ultimately drive recruitment and attraction strategies to assure river management expertise for the future

Upcoming Workshops

Successful completion of a workshop will result in participants being awarded a Attendance Certificate stating CPD hours. 

Council Monthly Catch ups:

Let's connect, share an idea, talk about issues and work on solutions as a team. 

Followed by networking. 

To join email rachael.armstrong@hbrc.govt.nz

Gravel Management workshop

A look at gravel management practices and wider considerations around gravel extraction.

A two-day workshop on practical examples of gravel management practices.

Day one will be an introduction to gravel management and cover the fundamentals of fluvial geomorphology for understanding gravel in New Zealand rivers. We will look at a council perspective on changing approaches to assessing gravel volumes to inform extraction.

Day two will cover wider considerations around gravel extraction.

A Global Consents Case Study (Hawkes Bay Regional Council)

Ending on lessons learned open group discussion.


Key themes

Day 1

• Introduction to gravel management. Why / How / Where - are we doing it.

• Gravel Mobilisation. The science behind bedload movement and how we influence it.

• Volume calculation methods

• Geomorphic Change Detection

Day 2

A facilitated workshop format where participants will be expected to share their experiences with respect to the wide range of factors to consider when allowing extraction to occur, including but not limited to interaction with;

• Habitat and natural character

• Ground water

• Coastal erosion

• Cultural considerations including mahinga kai

• Existing infrastructure and overlapping consent areas

• Resource management legislation reform

• Consequences of non-extraction

• Site rehabilitation



A better understanding of gravel management practices across the country. This is an opportunity for practitioners to connect directly on common complex issues and have a shared space for sharing solutions.

Who would benefit?

Local authority staff involved in the permissions process for river gravel extraction including planners, scientists and engineers. Consultants and contractors actively involved in river gravel management, or who have a specific interest in quarrying and river management.


Prof. Jon Tunnicliffe, University of Auckland

Dr. Alastair Clement, Tasman District Council

Dr. Richard Measures, NIWA

Astra McKellow, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council



Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 August 2024



Wellington City



8.30am to 5pm



$1250.00 plus GST.

Council rate – $950.00 plus GST


Where to register

Email Rachael Armstrong - Rachael.Armstrong@hbrc.govt.nz



Essentials of Engagement

Date: Thursday 3rd October 2024


Philip Laing House

Level 2
144 Rattray Street
Dunedin 9016

Dunedin, Council Chambers and Councillor’s Lounge

Time: 9am-4pm

Breaks times 10.40am (20mins), 12.30pm (30mins), 2.30pm (15mins).

Cost: $500 plus GST. Council rate – $450 plus GST

Presenter: Chris Meme




The role of the engagement practitioner

Core Values Code of Ethics Contemporary Engagement

  • Engagement definition
  • Community engagement
  • Uses of engagement
  • Benefits of community and stakeholder engagement

Five Essential Elements of Engagement Practice ('Design Platform')

  • Understand context
  • Scope the project
  • Understand people
  • Set purpose of the engagement
  • Shape influence

Quality assurance standards


Who should do this course?

Engagement Essentials has been designed for those who will be responsible for:

  • those wishing to obtain the Certificate in Engagement
  • experienced practitioners who are looking for a refresher
  • those considering a career, or career change, in community engagement
  • professionals, such as planners and engineers in related fields.



  • Validate your knowledge of sector best practice
  • Clarify how the core models should work in practice
  • Ask questions from IAP2’s experienced trainers
  • Form a professional network


Engagement Essentials Training | IAP2 Australasia

This course is the pre-requisite for the IAP2 Australasia Certificate in Engagement. Engagement Essentials the perfect starting point for anyone involved in community and stakeholder engagement, at any level or function.

Participants will receive a certificate and gain 7 CPD hours upon completion.


2021 Canterbury Flood Recovery Field Trip

Host: Environment Canterbury.


A two-day field trip to visit various sites damaged by the May 2021 Canterbury Floods, 3 years on from the event. The focus is to show the practical and fit-for-purpose methods used to repair around 350 damaged sites and is applicable to field staff and river engineers. Sites chosen to visit will include.

  • Large scour bays repaired with a combination of vegetation and engineered structures,
  • Innovative trials of different anchoring methods for anchored tree protection,
  • Inclusion of native planting within scour zones,
  • Heyman fences used in space limited areas,
  • Stop bank repairs including retreat where appropriate,
  • Rock groynes, rock drop structures and rock revetments

You will visit areas where some partial retreat has been possible to make more room for rivers. With repeated floods in the winters of 2022 and 2023, some of the repair methods were shown to not work and different solutions have now been implemented. You will learn the methods used to communicate and manage such a large number of repairs.


Field trip. Wednesday 16 – Thursday 17 October 2024

Online Post Field Trip Follow up. 

Location: Ashburton, Canterbury

$1300.00 plus GST.

The cost of the field trip is inclusive of accommodation in Ashburton, lunch and dinner on day one and breakfast and lunch on day two. Refreshments will be at a personal expense.

Spaces limited. To register email Rachael.Armstrong@hbrc.govt.nz

A one-day workshop on practical examples of river management practices, and the context in which options are considered. Participants to bring case studies of recent works or current sites where works are proposed.  The workshop will be discussion based, with a short overview of the wider context of river management.

Who would benefit?

Local authority engineers and asset managers, consultants and contractors actively involved in river management, or who have a specific interest in and experience of rivers and their management.


Wednesday 29 January 2025




One day (9 am to 5 pm)


$500.00 plus GST.

Council rate – $400.00 plus GST

Where to register

Email Rachael Armstrong - Rachael.Armstrong@hbrc.govt.nz

Key themes

River management options: relating to river type and reach character.

Site context and pre-flood conditions: of flood history, channel changes and sediment transport activity.

Option selection: from potential bank protection and channel management measures.

Relating works to site: dimensioning structural bank works, scoping channel measures and margin vegetation management.

Learning from mistakes: all river management measures are temporary, thus monitoring and observation skills to learn from the river is essential.


A better understanding of river dynamics and the requirements of river engineering, and of different practices used on different types of rivers and around the country.

Presenter Gary Williams, Water & Soil Engineer, FEngNZ

Key Learning Objectives/Outcomes

Familiarity with key principles in fluvial geomorphology and their application to various river management situations (e.g., catchment (and regional) planning, sediment flux issues, and relation to flood hazards).


Monday 10 February - Tuesday 11 February 2025 


Wellington and Waikanae


Two full days (8am-5pm)

Exact times to be confirmed


$950.00 plus GST for 2-day course. Council rate – $800.00 plus GST

Where to register

Email Rachael Armstrong - Rachael.Armstrong@hbrc.govt.nz

Key themes

Management issues for which geomorphic insight is fundamental:

  • Work with the river (nature-based solutions) – respect diversity, work with process
  • Determine what is realistically achievable
  • Be proactive, precautionary, pre-emptive – tackle threatening processes
  • Risk management
  • Integrated Catchment Management
  • Active and passive practices (including the do-nothing option) – hard versus soft engineering practices … Role of maintenance (weed management)
  • Flood management/protection versus ‘living with a living river’
  • Managing river erosion
  • Using sediment budgets to manage sedimentation issues (including sand/gravel extraction)

Spatial Dimensions of geomorphologically-informed river management


  • Fundamental geomorphic unit
  • Longitudinal profile – source, transfer accumulation zones
  • Network relationships (tributary-trunk stream pattern, flux)
  • Connectivity relationships

Channel planform: Braided, wandering gravel-bed, active meandering passive meandering, discontinuous watercourse (wetland/swamp)

Channel geometry

  • Downstream and at-a-station hydraulic geometry
  • Size and shape

Geomorphic units

  • Erosional and depositional forms (and process relations)
  • Channel (instream) and floodplain
  • Assemblages – and approach to analysis of morphodynamics, condition, recovery (Fryirs & Brierley, 2021)

Bed material size

  • Bedrock, Boulder/cobble, gravel-bed, sand-bed, fine-grained
  • Bedload, mixed load, suspended load

Temporal dimensions of geomorphologically-informed river management

Timescale: Geologic, geomorphic, engineering

Magnitude-frequency relations

Equilibrium versus non-linear relations

Legacy effect (landscape memory)

Processes of geomorphic river adjustment

  • Balance of impelling and resisting forces
  • Stream power, shear stress
  • Resistance elements – role of riparian vegetation, wood, ecosystem engineers
  • Entrainment, transport, deposition (Hjulstrom curve)
  • Sediment transport – Bedload, suspended load, solution load
  • Aggradation/degradation regime – Lane Balance

Evolutionary trajectory of rivers (and recovery potential)

  • Relating character and behaviour (capacity for adjustment/range of variability) to evolutionary trajectory
  • Scoping (modelling) prospective river futures to determine what is realistically achievable in management

Geomorphology and river health (condition)

What do we measure where, how and why?

What do we measure against?

Geomorphic relations to Māori conceptualisations of rivers

A living river ethos, mauri, mana, ora

How geomorphology can support river management (indicative only – set up follow up specialist courses)

Scoping river futures - Proactive and precautionary approaches to Visioning & Catchment Planning

Concern for treatment response

Geoethical considerations – concerns for social and environmental justice

  • Risk management
  • Integrated Catchment Management
  • Active and passive practices (including the do-nothing option) – hard versus soft engineering practices … Role of maintenance (weed management)
  • Flood management/protection versus ‘living with a living river’
  • Managing river erosion
  • Using sediment budgets to manage sedimentation issues (including sand/gravel extraction)

Presenters: Ian Fuller, Gary Brierley, Jon Tunnicliffe

Upcoming Webinars

All webinars are one hour.

Natural Flood Management (NFM): Using all the geomorphological tools in the toolbox to achieve nature-based flood mitigation.

The 2021-2022 floods across eastern Australia highlighted the vulnerability of rivers to changing climate extremes. They are the costliest natural disaster in Australia’s recorded history with insured losses of ~$6.41 billion, well ahead of the 2019-20 ‘black summer’ bushfires (ICA 2022). By 2050, Australia’s annual extreme weather cost is likely to be $32.5 billion (ICA, 2022).

The 2022 New South Wales (NSW) Government inquiry into the floods calls for implementation of “nature-based flood mitigation … using floodplains as assets … and letting watercourses largely flow naturally rather than implementing engineering barriers such as flood levees and mitigation schemes to stop floods” (O’Kane and Fuller, 2022). In this context we must urgently re-examine how to live with rivers and build nature-based flood mitigation capacity and resilience into them, to prepare for an inevitable future where floods are forecast to be more intense and extreme. So, how do we achieve this?

Natural Flood Management (NFM) uses natural processes to slow floods down, reduce their erosive power, and reduce flood risk. In this presentation Kirstie will describe how an understanding of geomorphic, vegetative and hydrological recovery can be used to determine the NFM potential of rivers and catchments. Kirstie will then consider how we realise NFM on-the-ground by using and applying all the nature-based tools we have in the toolbox to enhance river recovery and deliver flood mitigation to communities. Kirstie will use the 2021-2022 catastrophic floods in Eastern NSW as a case study to demonstrate the potential for delivering geomorphologically-informed NFM and river recovery in 21st Century river management (Fryirs et al., 2023).

Presenter: Professor Kirstie Fryirs, Macquarie University

Kirstie’s research focusses on how rivers work, how they have evolved, how they have been impacted by anthropogenic disturbance, and how to best use geomorphology in river management. Kirstie also researches how rivers and catchments may respond to future disturbances, particularly floods and droughts. Kirstie is probably best known as the co-developer of the River Styles Framework and professional short courses, and more recently delivery of microcredential courses for industry. Kirstie works in multi-disciplinary, collaborative teams that include ecologists, hydrologists, social scientists, industry practitioners and citizens. Kirstie has co-written three books and published over 150 journal papers. Kirstie is on the Specialist Environmental Advisory Committee (SEAC) for the Certified Environmental Practitioner (geomorphology) program. Kirstie is passionate about rivers, their health, their geodiversity and how to use best available science in conservation and rehabilitation practice.

Register in advance for this webinar: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_nw8EcV_LR5W3Nkp9cIFjTw

Fryirs, K., Zhang, N., Ralph, T., Arash, A.M. 2023. Natural flood management: Lessons and opportunities from the catastrophic 2021-2022 floods in eastern Australia. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 48, 1649-1664. https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.5647

ICA (Insurance Council of Australia) 2022. Catastrophe Resilience Report. Available at: https://insurancecouncil.com.au/ 

O’Kane, M., Fuller, M. 2022. 2022 Flood Inquiry Volume One: Summary Report. 29th July 2022. New South Wales Government, Sydney. Available at: https://www.nsw.gov.au/nsw-government/projects-and-initiatives/floodinquiry 

Asset Management Training 

Join Johan Kirsten (HBRC) for an Introduction & Overview in Asset Management

Key Topics

  • ISO 55000, 1 & 2
  • The International Infrastructure Management Manual
  • 3 x Core AM Levels
  • A Fundamental Principle of AM
  • The Asset Management Landscape
  • Asset Lifecycle Thinking
  • The AM Journey
  • Accurate Asset Information
  • Information Velocity
  • Focused and Continuous Improvement
  • AM in the Flood Protection and Drainage Context

To regsiter email Rachael.Armstrong@hbrc.govt.nz

Flooding is the most frequent natural hazard in New Zealand and the second-most costly after earthquakes. It is also expected to become more severe as climate change impacts are realized. Generally, we use two-dimensional hydrodynamic models to simulate flood inundation across a floodplain and obtain reliable estimations of flood extent and magnitude. However, these models are computationally expensive and time-consuming. Current computer and power limits the number of simulations we can run, the detail and complexity of these simulations, and the catchment's size. These limitations make real-time and forecasting flood assessment very challenging. Here, we propose a hybrid hydrodynamic - machine learning model that will reduce the numerical modelling load and enable probabilistic modelling. This model allows us to rapidly predict potential flooding events from an ensemble of previously assessed events. Specifically, the model can predict flood extent and maximum inundation depth from a rainfall storm and the geographic features of the catchment. We are using the Wairewa catchment (Banks Peninsula, Canterbury) to test the model.

Presenter: Andrea Pozo Estivariz

Andrea earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in civil engineering at the University of Cantabria (Spain). After graduating, she joined the GeoOcean research group based in the University of Cantabria. There, she worked as a consultant for coastal flooding risk assessments and had the opportunity to dive into different research topics, such as the development of prediction models for tropical cyclone activity. In 2022, Andrea moved to New Zealand to pursue her PhD in water resource management, focused on developing hybrid hydrodynamic – machine learning methodologies for rapid flood scenario assessment. Her research is part of the 5-years National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research led research programme “Mā te haumaru ō ngā puna wai ō Rākaihautū ka ora mō ake tonu: increasing flood resilience across Aotearoa New Zealand”, which is developing a system to map flood hazard consistently across the whole country for current and future climates.

To register https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_n50-mFqvQV2c3M4_nwOw7g

Coastal blue carbon in Aotearoa: opportunities and challenges

Blue carbon is the carbon sequestered by coastal and marine habitats such as mangroves, saltmarsh, and seagrasses. The carbon sequestration service provided by these habitats could help to mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as well as providing other important ecosystem services. Restoration of coastal habitats for the purpose of sequestering blue carbon can generate carbon credits, potentially offsetting the costs of restoration and any lost revenue for landowners. Coastal blue carbon projects have been successfully implemented overseas, but a blue carbon market has not yet been established in Aotearoa. This session will discuss the spatial opportunities and policy challenges that face this growth area in Aotearoa.

Dr Phoebe Stewart-Sinclair NIWA

Phoebe Stewart-Sinclair is a marine ecologist and economist. Her work broadly focuses on marine conservation and climate change adaptation and mitigation through conservation of marine organisms and environments. She has worked in research in New Zealand, Australia, and the UK. Her qualifications include a Certificate in Tertiary Teaching, a BSc in Zoology and Ecology, an Honours in Zoology, a Masters in Conservation Biology, a PhD in Biology, and a PhD in Economics. At NIWA, she is a Scientist in the Marine Ecology team.

To register https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_gQrQQX6oROm4N0WVvuIrpw

Willow Vegetation for Managing River Edges.

The art of balancing community expectations, cost, and politics in an environment of climate change.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ tool in the river management toolbox, particularly when it comes to balancing expectations from numerous stakeholders about what’s best. Policy, affordability, politics, and science all play a part.

The use of willows to manage river edges in the Bay of Plenty has proved key to balancing these expectations.

Depending on what side of the fence (or river) you sit on, willows can be either good or bad.

This webinar will address the perception and reality of using willows as frontline protection across the many dynamic rivers in the Bay of Plenty region.

Presenter: Tony Dunlop

Tony is the Area Engineer for Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

With over 45 years in the business, he’s been involved in policy development, community and iwi relations, asset management, infrastructure delivery and contract management – most of the time in his gumboots!

His passion is river edge protection and maintenance.

This combination of experience of passion for what he does, day in, day out has seen Tony become a regular speaker and advisor to river management practitioners in regional councils across the country.

To register https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_GC3QqkzrQLWzsLRpecspYA

Floodplain Management Australia 2024 Conference Round-up

Sharyn will give a round-up of the Floodplain Management Australia (FMA) conference held in Brisbane in May. The theme of the conference was ‘Floods in a Changing Climate’ and covered flood risk management, environmental and cultural river management projects and issues, community engagement, policy and planning. The 2024 Conference attracted 486 practitioners who are working in or interested in flood risk management, including Commonwealth, state and local government representatives, research organisations and education providers as well as consultants, engineers, land-use planners, emergency responders and community volunteer organisations. The programme also included international contributors from the USA, UK and New Zealand. Sharyn has been on the conference Programme Advisory Committee since 2021, and GW became an Associate Member of Floodplain Management Australia in 2022

Floodplain Management Australia (FMA) is the peak national body for flood risk practitioners in Australia, and has an Associate Member category for international members. FMA promotes wise management of development on floodplains and community awareness of flood-related issues, helping to reduce the risks of flooding to life and property. FMA members include over 160 Australian (and New Zealand) councils, catchment management authorities, federal, state and territory government agencies, businesses, and professionals involved in all aspects of urban and rural flood risk management.

Presenter: Sharyn Westlake

Sharyn is Principal Engineer, Construction at Greater Wellington Regional Council (GW), and is a Chartered Professional Engineer and Fellow of Engineering NZ. Sharyn has more than thirty years’ experience in governance, engineering, management, strategic planning, consultation and engagement in the private sector and local government..

To register https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_OE1tCcwFRyC0B3b4lyh7pg

Webinar Recordings

Check out our webinar library to watch previously recorded webinars.

Webinar library