Collaboration Lab: Research and findings


Programme Vision

“Desired freshwater management outcomes will be identified through effective collaborative governance processes and achieved through improved planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting frameworks. Iwi and wider communities will be engaged in all aspects of the planning cycle, including monitoring, evaluating and updating management approaches to improve economic, social, cultural and environmental outcomes for the entire community over time.


Our research focuses on 2 key areas for freshwater management and decision making:

An overview summary of the Collaboration Lab can be found here.


The learnings from the programme are being communicated through a series of journal articles and conference presentations, policy briefs and guidance documents, workshops, research reports, and seminars.

These publications and presentations can be found in the publications list.

Community: awareness of collaborative processes

As part of the Values, Monitoring and Outcomes MBIE programme, the members of the general public were surveyed in 2015 about freshwater management in three regions—Northland, Waikato, and Hawke’s Bay – comparing areas with and without a collaborative process. The aim of the study was to test whether, in areas with collaboration, the wider community had a more positive opinion of the regional council and perceived greater agreement about freshwater management (as opposed to conflict). The results show low awareness that collaborative processes were underway, with some interesting differences between regions and between people with different levels of involvement in planning processes. As the survey was undertaken in 2015 before any of the collaborative processes had reached consensus recommendations, this report provides a baseline against which future assessments can be compared. There is also an Ecology and Society journal article outlining the findings.

In 2017 a second survey was jointly undertaken by the Values, Monitoring and Outcomes MBIE programme and the Collaboration Lab when some processes were completed and some were not. While there were some changes between 2015 and 2017 many perceptions were largely unchanged and any changes depended on region and level of participation in freshwater management. The findings are outlined in the associated report.