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He Waka Eke Noa - Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership

He Waka Eke Noa is a partnership to reduce primary sector emissions. It involves working to equip farmers to measure, manage and reduce on-farm agriculture greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change. This is to enable sustainable food and fibre production for future generations.

Image showing all the partner logos.



Programme overview

In late 2019, the Government committed to joining forces with the primary sector and iwi/Māori to equip farmers and growers with the knowledge and tools they need to reduce emissions, while continuing to sustainably produce quality food and fibre products for domestic and international markets.

This includes collaboration on the detailed development of an appropriate farm gate emissions pricing mechanism by 2025. 

Through the He Waka Eke Noa: Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership (based on the document He Waka Eke Noa: Our Future in Our Hands  [PDF, 171 KB] published in July 2019), we are working toward all farmers and growers:

  • including the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change in their farm business and environment plans by 2025
  • calculating their greenhouse gas emissions sources and sinks and being incentivised to take actions on climate change through the development of an appropriate pricing mechanism for emissions by 2025

Read the He Waka Eke Noa five-year programme overview [PDF, 233 KB]

Key milestones 

Farm emissions reporting

  • For 25 per cent of farms in New Zealand, a person responsible for farm management holds a documented annual total of on-farm greenhouse gas emissions, by methods and definitions accepted by the Steering Group, by 31 December 2021.
  • For all farms in New Zealand, a person responsible for farm management holds a documented annual total of on-farm greenhouse gas emissions, by methods and definitions accepted by the Steering Group, by 31 December 2022.
  • A pilot of a farm level accounting and reporting system has been completed by 1 January 2024 across a range of farm types.
  • A system for farm-level accounting and reporting of 2024 agricultural greenhouse gas emissions at farm level is in use by all farms by 1 January 2025.

Farm plans

  • Guidance is provided to farmers on how to measure and manage greenhouse gas emissions through farm planning by 1 January 2021.
  • A quarter of farms have a written plan in place to measure and manage their greenhouse gas emissions by 1 January 2022.
  • All farms have a written plan in place to measure and manage their greenhouse gas emissions by 1 January 2025.

The milestones for He Waka Eke Noa, as well as provisions to determine whether progress is being made, has been legislated through the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Act.

Over the coming months, the focus will be on shaping up some detail and starting to test that with farmers and growers. The first hard deadline is to produce farm planning guidance for farmers and growers.  You’ll see this guidance by the end of this year.

Programme structure

Read an overview of the programme structure [PDF, 228 KB]

There are 11 key agriculture sector organisations including Māori-agribusiness interests and two government departments working together under He Waka Eke Noa.  A steering group has been appointed by Government and the Food and Fibre Forum to provide oversight and ensure delivery for farmers and growers. The steering group is chaired by Michael Ahie.

The partnership is supported by a programme office consisting of a programme director, programme manager, communications and engagement advisor and programme support. 


To deliver information, tools and support to farmers and growers, a number of workstreams have been set up to work on specific issues.  Each workstream is co-led by three people representing industry, Māori and government perspectives, and has a team of people from partner organisations. Each workstream will ask for input from farmers and growers through partners’ established networks.  They will also draw on subject-matter experts as required.

The workstreams are:

  • farm planning
  • emissions reports
  • emission pricing
  • on-farm sequestration
  • innovation and uptake
  • extension and early action.  

Māori agribusiness will integrate Māori perspectives into each workstream. 


The Steering Group was appointed by Government and the Food and Fibre Leaders Forum to provide oversight and ensure delivery of the milestones and objectives of the work programme.

Members are: 

Portrait image of Michael AhieMichael Ahie - Independent Chair

Michael Ahie is Chancellor of Massey University, and Chair or a Director of several primary sector groups including Spring Sheep Milk Co and the New Zealand Plant Market Access Council. He draws on his experience growing up in a farming community in coastal South Taranaki and his previous executive roles with Toyota New Zealand Ltd, the New Zealand Dairy Board and Wrightson Ltd. Of Taranaki, Ngā Ruahine and Ngāti Ruanui descent, Michael lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

Michael Ahie talking about He Waka Eke Noa

Martin Workman – Ministry for the Environment | Manatū Mō Te Taiao Acting Deputy Secretary for Sustainable Land Use DeliveryMartin Workman

Martin is responsible for leading the new Sustainable Land Use Delivery function. This will ensure delivery of policies such as the NPS Freshwater, He Waka Eke Noa and budget funding for freshwater restoration.  Martin has over 20 years experience in environmental policy and delivery including time with Federated Farmers, Tasman District Council, Nelson City Council, and Ministry for Primary Industries. He had his first spell with MfE in 1997-99, and has been back with the Ministry since 2017. He led the freshwater policy reforms. 


Ruth Fairhall - Ministry for Primary Industries | Manatū Ahu Matua Deputy Director General (Policy and Trade)Ruth Fairhall

Ruth is responsible for policy and trade matters across the primary industries including agriculture and horticulture, fisheries and forestry. Ruth joined MPI in November 2018. Before joining MPI Ruth spent most of her career at the Ministry of Justice in policy roles, most recently as the General Manager, Courts and Justice Services Policy.


Vaughan Payne - Iwi Māori PerspectivesVaughan Payne.

Vaughan hails from the eastern Bay of Plenty tribes of Whakatohea (Mataatua) and Ngai Tai (Tainui), and has worked for and with tangata whenua across the motu throughout his career. Vaughan is Chief Executive Officer at Waikato Regional Council who have reduced their carbon emissions by 30% since 2017, have led the development of the Waikato Climate Action Plan, and co-manage the Waikato and Waipa rivers with Waikato River Iwi. He has helped lead the regional sector’s involvement in the government’s freshwater reforms and use of farm plans.

Tanira Kingi - Federation of Māori AuthoritiesTanira Kingi

Tanira is the Research Leader in Primary Industry Systems at Scion and Science Advisor to the Federation of Māori Authorities. Tanira has a background in agricultural economics and farm systems and before joining Scion was with Massey University and AgResearch looking into land use change and freshwater and GHG mitigation modelling, more recently funded by NZAGRC. Tanira has tribal affiliations to Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Rangitihi, Te Arawa nui tonu and Ngati Awa.


Bruce Thorrold - DairyNZBruce Thorrold

Bruce has been a strategy and investment leader for DairyNZ since March 2001. The strategy and investment team is responsible for investing the farmer levy. Before joining Dexcel (now DairyNZ), Bruce spent 15 years with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and AgResearch, where he worked in soil science and catchment management, including hill country and lowland studies.


Portrait image of Karen WilliamsKaren Williams - Federated Farmers of New Zealand

Karen is a National Board Member with responsibilities for Transport, Biosecurity (plants), Fire, and Hazardous Substances, and is the National Arable Chairperson at Federated Farmers. She farms a 224ha mixed cropping and beef and lamb finishing property at Gladstone in the Wairarapa with her husband Mick and three children. Karen has a background in resource management and policy development where she worked for local authorities and a planning consultancy. Karen and her husband are former winners of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards for the Wellington Region which recognises environmentally and economically sustainable farming businesses, and she is a graduate of the Agri-Women’s Development Trust ‘Escalator’ Programme.


Charlotte Rutherford - Agrifood ProcessorCharlotte Rutherford.

Charlotte is the director of On Farm Excellence at Fonterra. Charlotte has developed and led the implementation of many Fonterra programmes including the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord and Tiaki Sustainable Dairying. She has also represented Fonterra on numerous national bodies guiding the development of environmental policy in New Zealand, including the Land and Water Forum and National Board of Use of Overseer in Policy. She has also lead Fonterra’s input into national and regional policy development.


Portrait image of Jeremy BakerJeremy Baker - Beef + Lamb New Zealand

Jeremy is the Chief Insights Officer for Beef + Lamb New Zealand. He is charged with analysing the risks and opportunities facing the sheep and beef sector; identifying what the sector needs to know; and helping people decide what action to take in response to those issues. Jeremy’s background is in Strategy.


Portrait image of Michelle SandsMichelle Sands - Horticulture New Zealand

Michelle leads the Natural Resources and Environment team at Horticulture New Zealand. Her focus is to draw on my technical experience to provide policy advice that is informed by science. Michelle’s background is in hydrology and water quality.


More information

Read the Terms of Reference for the Steering Group [PDF, 208 KB]

Read an article by Michael Ahie on He Waka Eke Noa: Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership

Ask questions or give your views to the programme office by emailing