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.

Programme overview

The Government has partnered with the primary sector and iwi/Māori to equip farmers to measure, manage and reduce on-farm agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.

This includes collaboration on the detailed development of an appropriate on-farm emissions pricing mechanism, which will come into effect in 2025. 

He Waka Eke Noa is working towards:

  • all farmers and growers knowing their emissions number
  • including measures to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change in their farm business and environment plans.

The programme objectives are based on the document: He Waka Eke Noa: Our Future in Our Hands [PDF, 171 KB].

Programme milestones


  • Guidance was developed for farmers on how to measure and manage greenhouse gas emissions through farm planning.

During 2021

  • Guidance and information are widely shared through existing groups and organisations, and online.
  • Discussion with farmers and growers on options for understanding and recognising on-farm sequestration (long-term storage of carbon for example in trees or soil).
  • Discussion with farmers and growers on options for a farm-level pricing mechanism for agricultural emissions.

By the end of 2021

  • A quarter of farmers and growers in Aotearoa New Zealand know their annual total of on-farm greenhouse gas emissions. In practice, this means a person responsible for farm management holds a documented annual total of on-farm greenhouse gas emissions by methods and definitions accepted by the He Waka Eke Noa Steering Group.
  • A quarter of farms will have a written plan in place to measure and manage their emissions.

During 2022

  • Recommendations are made to Ministers on the detailed design of an integrated on-farm reporting and pricing system to come into effect from 2025.
  • A report will be published by the end of December setting out the key design details for a system to put a price on emissions from agricultural activities as an alternative to the NZ ETS. The Government asked for feedback on its proposed system – a farm-level, split-gas levy. See pricing agricultural emissions (Consultation closed 18 November 2022.)

By the end of 2022

  • 100 per cent of farmers and growers know their annual total on-farm emissions.

By the end of 2023

  • A pilot project testing a system for farm-level accounting and reporting of emissions is completed.

In 2025

  • All farms have a written plan in place to measure and manage their greenhouse gas emissions.

The milestones for He Waka Eke Noa, as well as provisions to determine whether progress is being made, are legislated through the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Act [New Zealand Legislation website].

Programme governance

There are 11 key agriculture sector organisations working together under He Waka Eke Noa. These include Māori agribusiness interests and two government departments.

A Steering Group has been appointed by the Government and the Food and Fibre Leaders 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.

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

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

Work streams

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

The work streams are:

  • Farm planning
  • On-farm emissions reporting
  • On-farm emissions pricing
  • On-farm sequestration
  • Extension (including innovation and uptake, and supporting early action)
  • Te Aukaha.

Steering Group members

Michael 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, Tūmatakōkiri - Māori Strategy and Performance, Chief of Staff

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. 

Julie Collins – Ministry for Primary Industries | Manatū Ahu Matua, Deputy Director-General (Policy and Trade)

Julie is responsible for policy and trade matters across primary industries, including agriculture and horticulture, fisheries and forestry, having recently stepped into this role following a position as Deputy Director-General for Te Uru Rākau. Julie has more than 30 years’ experience in forestry and land use policy.  She previously worked for the New Zealand Forest Service and its successor, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. This work involved the valuation of Crown forests, conservation policy for indigenous forests on private land, and incorporating forestry and agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Julie also spent 15 years in the UK and held a senior role with the Forestry Commission, leading one of four England Forestry Strategy programmes. She worked with the forest industry to identify and solve their business issues and led work on renewable energy, grant development, and sustainability initiatives.

Vaughan Payne - Iwi Māori Perspectives

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 Authorities

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 - DairyNZ

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.

Karen 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 Processor

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.

Jeremy 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.


Michelle 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 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 yourfeedback@hewakaekenoa.nz.