Mike Taitoko from Takiwā was part of the 2018 NZ GovTech Accelerator working with MfE on a freshwater catchment mapping platform. We spoke to Mike to learn how that work has snowballed into the Regenerative Farming initiative, Calm the farm. Two thirds of Aotearoa’s freshwater systems are unswimmable and 75% of our native freshwater fish are at risk of extinction. This is not a new problem for us, but one that requires urgent action. This is what Mike sought to address in 2018.
During the GovTech Accelerator
Managing freshwater quality is a complex issue that requires a collaborative approach. The GovTech Accelerator process ensured the team talked with farmers, hapu, iwi and local government to understand the biggest challenges they face. Connecting with your user is integral to the efficacy of a solution, a fundamental part of the GovTech process.
“Doing the face-to-face interviewers with these key groups gives you a very different perceptive. As a general rule, government doesn’t do this, yet the insights created are amazing. This meant we could create solutions to have a big impact on the health of our waterways, surprisingly easy.”
The team left the Accelerator with Pāmu Ora – a cloud-based catchment management tool designed to improve decision-making and collaboration at catchment and farm scale to improve freshwater quality. Pāmu Ora aggregates scientific and cultural data, remote sensor data and spatial views of land and water, and also provides intervention options, case studies, planning tools and video content to support change.
This not only creates the much needed data to track the health of our waterways but also positively impacts the water quality at the source, on Farm.
18 months on…
Pāmu ora has grown into Calm the Farm, which connects farmers with investors and advisors, in order to help support farmers towards more regenerative practices and make collaborative decisions that align more closely with their values. Calm the Farm will give farmers and investors alike the ability to verify and track improvements in soil and water quality, as well as transparency around the ecological implications of their investments. Farmers are able to apply for investment for infrastructure that facilitates the conversion to regenerative practices.
Calm the Farm is currently working closely with farmers in the Waikato region and Te Arawa River Trust. They are starting to see the results of the Regenerative Farming practices in the Data, in the food quality grown, in the levels of nitrogen and in the amounts of fertiliser needed. Ultimately, contributing to Aotearoa’s transition to regenerative agriculture.