Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

About our stakeholders

Moss trials at Stockton Mine, Buller. Image – Rowan Buxton

Moss trials at Stockton Mine, Buller. Image – Rowan Buxton

Government owners

The Science and Innovation Group in the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) represents the interests and expectations of our shareholding Government ministers The Minister of Finance and the Minister of Science and Innovation each hold 50% of the Company’s shares on behalf of the public. The shareholding Ministers appoint the Chair, Deputy Chair, and the five other directors to the Board of Landcare Research.


Our science revenue (aboutNZ$52.1 million per year) is derived primarily from contracts with MBIE, Ministry for the Environment (MfE), Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), Department of Conservation, (DOC), TBfree New Zealand, regional, city and district councils, and private sector businesses and organisations.

We receive $24.2 million of government money in a Core Funding Agreement with MBIE. The Landcare Research Board of Directors is accountable for how this money is invested in our science, and performance is monitored against Outcome and Impact KPIs, contract deliverables and other metrics set by MBIE and ourselves.

Key clients

We continue to focus on engaging with all our key clients to better align our research and service delivery with their needs and expectations.

The Chief Executive and senior managers hold regular meetings with the Chief Executives and senior managers in these agencies, particularly via our Outcome Advisory Panel. However, our Business Managers and Science Leaders take responsibility for engaging with these stakeholders at the operational or local level.

Our key stakeholder partners were involved in helping us develop our science Portfolios and Portfolio strategies.

The Science + Innovation Group in MBIE commission Colmar Brunton to conduct an independent stakeholder survey across a wide range of organisations, and 61 stakeholders (57 in 2013; 61 in the 2012) commented on Landcare Research.

  • 70% are satisfied with the way we set research priorities (78% in 2013; 83% in 2012)
  • 72% are confident we consider their sector’s priorities when setting research priorities (69% in 2013; 70% in 2012)
  • 92% are confident that we put together the most appropriate research teams (85% in 2013; 91% in 2012)
  • 82% are satisfied with the overall quality of their experience (91% in 2013; 87% in 2012

Our results sit at the top end of the CRI range in many cases, above the CRI average in all cases and are not materially different year-on-year since the survey was initiated.

Advisory Panels

Science Advisory Panel

We have appointed a 3-year Science Advisory Panel to support the Board and Senior Leadership Team through strategic science planning processes and allocating core funds, evaluating and developing science excellence, and ensuring our research contributes to achieving our National Outcomes. The panel consists of six leading researchers (two from the UK, two from Australia, two from New Zealand) whose expertise covers the range of our research activities.

Outcome Advisory Panel

This panel consists of senior representatives from key stakeholder organisations in central and local government, industry and business, the primary sector and iwi: Rob Phillips (Environment Southland; Chair), Ben Dalton (MPI), Ken Hughey (DOC), Michelle Edge (OSPRI New Zealand), Penny Nelson (MfE), James Palmer (MfE), David McCall (Dairy NZ) and Graham Smith (Federated Farmers). The Panel meets with our Senior Leadership Team twice yearly and provides high-level strategic advice to the Landcare Research Board, as well as input into the review process for our Outcome investment strategies.

Formal meetings with the Outcome Advisory Panel provide an effective way for our key stakeholders to influence our science direction, priorities and delivery.

Steering groups and advisory groups

Steering groups are formed when a product or service requires specific advice on development, uptake, maintenance or implementation. Advisory groups provide planning and operational guidance to particular projects. This year, we established senior-level steering Groups for both S-map and the Land Resource Inventory/Land Use Capability Classification (NZLRI/LUC). MPI, MfE, regional councils, the New Zealand Forest Owners Association (FOA), the primary sector, FANZ and relevant CRIs (notably AgResearch in both Groups) are represented, with MBIE participating as an observer. The Steering Groups provide advice on strategic direction and priorities, identify future funding opportunities and champion these two land resource data assets. The move to appoint the Steering Groups has been welcomed by these stakeholder partners who see significant value in improving and ensuring ongoing access to these national assets.

An advisory group (DOC, MPI, EPA, Tūhoe Tuawhenua Trust, Te Papa Tongarewa, AgResearch, Better Border Security, NIWA, AgResearch, the Allan Wilson Centre, Tāhuri Whenua, and regional councils) guides the strategic priorities for the research relating to our biological Collections and Databases.

In addition to end user stakeholders being part of advisory groups providing direction and priorities for our research, we also contribute practical expertise to stakeholder groups (this year, 33 staff held 61 advisory positions). These groups encompass a wide range of our expertise in areas such as freshwater (e.g., National Objectives Framework, monitoring, irrigation, consents); biosecurity (e.g., insects, fungi, plants, diseases); TB and pest management; animal welfare; geospatial data and standards; biodiversity (e.g., threatened species, restoration, eco-sanctuaries); land rehabilitation (e.g., post mining, erosion mitigation).

National Science Challenges

Landcare Research is the host agency for the New Zealand’s Biological Heritage Challenge, having co-led the bidding process with Plant & Food Research. Through that process, we engaged with a wide range of stakeholders via sector workshops and the Stakeholder Reference Group representing MPI, DOC and others in the Natural Resources Sector, the primary sector, Māori and regional councils. Thirty-eight partner organisations, including key end-users, formally supported the bid submitted. The extent of engagement throughout bid development and the high levels of support from stakeholders were key factors in the proposal’s success – it was acknowledged as demonstrating “a clear understanding of the research, management, and governance needed to deliver step change and additionality. The team has also embraced other Challenge principles, including integration of Vision Mātauranga, collaboration, mission-led science, and public engagement.”

We are also involved in developing the proposal for the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge, which is being led by AgResearch.


Māori are tangata whenua, the indigenous people of New Zealand; we respect the value of their traditional knowledge.

Landcare Research has a 20–year history of research projects with iwi. Initially projects focused on developing geographic information systems (GIS) to represent cultural values and interests, and on protecting taonga species. However, Māori are increasingly moving to a post–Treaty settlement phase where returned assets are being developed. They are looking for science and innovation to enable them to meet their aspirations, realise business opportunities, and achieve sustainable management of natural resources.

Māori goals, principles and knowledge systems (mātauranga) are increasingly being employed in national frameworks for natural resource management. Māori, business and government acknowledge that to realise Vision Mātauranga, Māori must fully participate in the science and innovation sector, and the process must recognise and reflect the holistic Māori world view.

We seek to integrate science and mātauranga Māori in a way that increases society’s appreciation of holistic relationships between the natural world, the economy and people. This integrated approach crosses and links all four of our National Outcomes, and is reflected in a growing number of projects with Māori.

We have responsibilities under the Treaty of Waitangi to consult with Māori (particularly in respect of the WAI 262 claim on indigenous flora and fauna) and a number of iwi and hapū are participants in and end–users of research funded by Māori corporations, MSI, MAF, and Te Puni Kōkiri (TPK).

 We have strategic initiatives to build our core Māori capacity and a strong bicultural ethos, giving the wider organisation confidence to develop strategic partnerships with iwi and Māori organisations. We will continue to form responsive, long–term relationships with iwi and Māori organisations, as demonstrated through a suite of collaborative projects that attract Māori investment.

As part of our ethnobotanical research, we are custodians of the national tī kōuka (cabbage tree) and harakeke (New Zealand flax) living collections at Lincoln, and provide divisions for pā harakeke on request. Information about the traditional use of plants is available on line Ngā Tipu Whakaoranga – Māori Plant Use database.

Other research organisations

Our engagement with universities and other research organisations is extensive through collaborative research funded by MBIE and sector groups, collaborative research centres, professional networks, and through Science New Zealand (an umbrella association for the CRIs). Also, our staff help supervise postgraduate students (90 students supervised in 2013/14) and lecture at universities with 18 staff held 23 honorary lectureship and joint professorial positions with universities. We hosted 7 postdoctoral researchers during the year.

Our Staff

In keeping with our EEO commitments, we encourage a ‘one Landcare Research’ culture irrespective of role, location, ethnicity or gender. Our staff are highly motivated and we have a high level of engagement in what the organisation does and how it is done. In the last three years, we have conducted a Staff Engagement Survey. The most recent survey had a 79% participation rate (85% in 2012; 71.5% in 2011), which was very pleasing given a difficult year with reductions in operational and salary costs. Engagement levels remain stable at 70%, well above the CRI average at time of survey.

Our staff are important stakeholders in our sustainability performance. Voluntary sustainability groups contribute ideas and drive many of the initiatives to reduce our environmental impacts. Similarly, staff contribute to site health and safety committees and experienced field staff lead forums on best practice. Approximately half of our staff are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), our trade union.

Our CEO and Senior Leadership undertake a twice-yearly roadshow to all sites to discuss issues and company performance with all staff. Portfolio Leaders and Team Leaders meet several times a year.

We have an extensive staffroom intranet that includes a feedback form, management and discussion papers and presentations, short video clips about topical science, staff newsletters, online booking and administration forms, a staff locator to help find colleagues across the organisation, noticeboards, a wide range of useful resources and the company policy manual and suite of standard operating procedures.