ISPS Taupo Joins Cheal

Cheal is proud and excited to announce the purchase of ISPS Consulting Engineers Ltd (Taupo office), originally founded by the late Ian and Mary Smith.

A long-established professional consultancy, ISPS had a firm reputation for its extensive structural and seismic strengthening design expertise throughout New Zealand and in particular the Wellington region following the 2016 earthquake.

“On a personal level, Ian and Mary were well known for their community work in the Taupo District and beyond” said Phil Battersby, Director of Cheal.  “Their departure has left a big hole in the community and the wider New Zealand Engineering industry”.

Welcoming  ISPS team members Cameron Murphy, Laura Alonso, Sharan Ghimire and Margaret Howard into Cheal’s Taupo office allows the organisation to further enhance its services in the fields of residential, commercial and industrial structural design and seismic engineering.

With significant tightening of regulations for the design and construction of new buildings, the role of the structural engineer has become increasingly important in the design and build space.  Retrospective strengthening of existing and often historical buildings has also come to the forefront over the past few years, requiring imaginative and complex solutions that will preserve the look and feel of history, whilst bringing modern safety standards into the building.

Creating professional teams that provide the highest levels in service and technical expertise is a major focus for Cheal and they are confident that this change will create further strengths in the organisation and increased service provision to our clients..

Pictured (L-R) : Cameron Murphy (Structural Team leader, Taupo), Laura Alonso (Structural Engineer, Taupo), Sharan Ghimire (Structural Engineer, Taupo)  and Margaret Howard (Engineering Administrator, Taupo).


The Waikato Regional Council publicly notified the Healthy River / Wai Ora Plan Change 1 on 22 October 2016 and submissions closed on 8 March 2017. A record number of submissions (1000) on the proposed plan changes were received.

The Plan Change is part of a wider programme aimed at improving and enhancing water quality within the Waikato and Waipa River catchments. The proposed plan aims to include all properties over 2ha within the Waikato River and Waipa River Catchments and will likely require significant changes to existing farming systems and rural land use.

Waikato Regional Council planning staff are now in the process of recording and summarising these submissions and a summary of submissions will be publicly notified mid-year.

If you did not make a submission in the original round, the further submission period later this year provides you with an important opportunity to become part of the process by making a submission either in support, neutral or in opposition to any points raised in the original round of submissions.

Cheal Planners are experienced in assisting with submissions to regional plan changes, reviewing water take permits, consent renewals, consenting strategies and domestic and agricultural effluent disposal. We are experienced in explaining how Council policy and regulations may affect your operation over time in everyday language.

If you have a rural property over 2 hectares in the Waikato or Waipa River catchments and wish to discuss your options for making a further submission on Plan Change 1 or options for land use change please don’t hesitate to contact Anthony Moss at our Hamilton Office on 07 858 4564.

Cheal has over 77 years’ experience in the provision of surveying, planning, civil, structural and geotechnical engineering throughout the Central North Island.

Rowan Little is a Senior Planner at the Cheal Rotorua branch.

Rotorua Rural Land Use Change Pushed Along

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council (BOPRC) has recently notified the Lake Rotorua Nutrient Management Plan Change. The Plan Change is part of the wider programme aimed at enhancing water quality in the Lake Rotorua Catchment. The Plan Change aims to reduce the amount of nitrogen entering the lake through groundwater. Fertiliser and effluent infiltrate the ground and raise the nitrogen levels of groundwater which then enters the lake and reduces water quality. The proposed rules seek to reduce the amount of nitrogen entering Lake Rotorua by 140 tonne. A Nitrogen Discharge Allowance (NDA) for each farm that is greater than 10 hectares (ha) will be set through a resource consent process and landowners will have till 2032 to meet their NDA.

Smaller rural properties will be required to comply with permitted activity standards (such as stocking rates) or apply for resource consent. Properties between 10-40ha will need to provide nitrogen records to BOPRC annually.

All dairy farms, regardless of size, will require resource consent.

It is expected that many farms will need to reduce their nitrogen output through means such as reduced stocking and fertiliser use. BOPRC has funding available for assisting with the reduction including purchasing of nitrogen credits (beyond the NDA), providing land use advice, trialling alternative land use solutions and conversion of gorse to forestry or indigenous forest.

Concurrently, Rotorua Lakes Council has been working to resolve appeals to the Proposed Rotorua District Plan and has recently resolved an appeal on the Rural Zone and Subdivision provisions. The appeal has resulted in incentives for rural property owners to switch to land uses that reduce nutrient losses and therefore benefit lake water quality. The new rules provide additional subdivision rights to landowners within the Catchment that switch to less intensive land uses. For example, changing 10ha of dairy land to drystock (or changing from drystock to forestry) provides for an extra lifestyle block to be subdivided from the landowner’s site. There are also subdivision incentives for providing permanent legal protection of Significant Natural Areas, rivers, streams and gullies.

The two Plans will work together to encourage land use change that will benefit lake water quality. If you have a rural property within the lake catchment and wish to discuss options for land use change or subdivision please don’t hesitate to contact Rowan, Ella or Nick at our Cheal Rotorua office on .

Submissions to the BOPRC Plan Change close Friday 15 April 2016.

Cheal Consultants Ltd took over Canmap Hawley of Rotorua almost two years ago and operate from the same premises at 1180 Amohia St. Cheal has a 75 year history in the provision of surveying, planning, civil, structural and geotechnical engineering throughout the Central North Island.

Affected by Water Regulations in the Waikato?  Talk to the Experts

With current focus in the Waikato on the review of water regulations it pays to talk to experts on how you can comply whilst meeting the needs of your business.

Cheal are experts in the provision of engineering, surveying and resource management planning services. Cheal Planners are experienced in reviewing current water permits, recommending consenting strategies for consent renewals, assisting with submissions to regional plan changes, advising on permitted levels for water takes, and obtaining consents for ground and surface water takes.

Similarly Cheal Planners are well versed in regional requirements for domestic and agricultural effluent disposal within the Waikato and Lake Taupo Catchments. Subdivision of rural properties is a key component of Cheal’s work, where the separation of nutrient management requirements and water take rights are often required in conjunction with subdivision consents. Assistance with consultation with various parties can be provided for Regional and District Council consents.

Cheal’s skilled team of civil, geotechnical and structural Engineers are able to design water storage facilities (tanks, reservoirs and dams) to assist with winter water storage for irrigation and land disposal systems for domestic and agricultural effluent. Our geotechnical and structural engineering team services the Waikato with expertise in earthworks, foundation design, soil conditions, and structural design for all industrial, farm and domestic buildings.

What challenges do we face in Hawke’s Bay?

In 2014 the New Zealand Planning Institute released a briefing paper for incoming Ministers that outlined key challenges over the coming years. These included demographic changes, transport, housing affordability, infrastructure, energy, freshwater, and RMA reforms.


So are these regional as well as national issues? They are certainly are big topics, but let’s briefly traverse them and see how Hawkes Bay may be placed.

Demographic Changes

Our aging population is an on-going challenge. Similarly, we are experiencing increasing cultural diversity and the needs and interests of different social-economic groups continue to be diverse. We need to understand the issues and expectations of the various players in our communities so that the facilities or solutions we provide are functional and capable of delivering.


We are gradually improving our traffic networks and connecting key areas with key infrastructure. The cycleway projects have been hugely successful, but now we need to make the best of this resource. Managing our rural roads and links to Wairoa and Gisborne will continue to be challenging, but what we really need to do is resolve the issue of access to the Port of Napier. The Port is our doorway to national and international markets and we need to make sure it is wide open. Although there are challenges with existing corridors and development, we need to confront these, and there needs to be regionally integrated approach.

 Housing Affordability

Housing affordability is influenced by a range of factors. On a national scale, perhaps the regions can offer a solution. Land and development is less expensive in the regions, and improved and affordable national transport links could support people living in Hawkes Bay and commuting to the main centres. Maybe air travel has a greater role to play than we realise. Imagine if we invested a small proportion of the millions earmarked to support growth in Auckland in travel between the regions and main centres. Better still, bring business here, and let’s be honest, affordable housing isn’t $350,000 plus.


Our thinking needs to be long term, but we need to maintain momentum. We need clear priorities but must be nimble enough to make the right decisions. Our plans and strategies need to be aligned and integrated, and while our solutions need to be resilient, we must welcome innovation. Take urban growth; have we accepted that regional CBD’s may be too large? Is this not what Christchurch has discovered? Could the periphery be better used, after all, this is where infrastructure is available. Let’s not forget about telecommunications either as we need the best possible resources to attract business options.


The economic appetite for energy expansion projects is probably limited, especially if nationally significant users decline. Over the long term however, wind maybe an option for Hawkes Bay, and with our level of sunlight hours we could certainly be part of the solar power industry. Delivering secure and diverse supplies of energy is still the key objective, and any option over oil that may arise must still surely be considered.


Most of the region is familiar with the Tukituki Plan Change and Ruataniwha storage scheme. Regardless of views, what is clear is that the future development of our region is dependent on how freshwater resources are managed. We need to keep these issues in context however, and have the confidence to try new ideas. Strategies and provisions can be put in place to reassess and respond, and while potential risks need to be balanced, the worst thing we can do is allow ourselves to miss out on opportunities; as the consequences for the wider community could be considerable.

RMA Reforms

Like it or not, the issues confronting us will be played out in the resource management sector. Yes the direction of the RMA probably needs to be made clearer, but while it’s likely to be criticised, words on paper are implemented by people, and if we’re really honest, it’s actually people who participate in these processes and make decisions. Regardless of ideas around reform, we need to get excited and approach new ideas with a ‘yes’, and then follow with questions to confirm or refine. Starting with a no will not take us forward.

These are big topics and warrant far more consideration than a few observations. What is clear however is that Hawkes Bay is in the thick of it. Yes, we have challenges to resolve, but fortunately we have a lot of solutions as well.

Cameron Drury is a Full Member of the New Zealand Planning Institute and a Senior Planner at Cheal with the role of Regional Manager for the Hawkes Bay operation.