The Rotorua public will have a chance to talk with experts about the health of Te Arawa lakes at hui tonight and tomorrow night.

The Te Arawa Lakes Trust has arranged for researchers to explain their work and answer questions.

Tonight's four speakers include University of Waikato technical officer Chris Eager, who will cover the geochemistry of the soda springs flowing into Rotoehu, and his colleague Professor Troy Baisden, who will cover how communities, including marae and hapū, can engage with science and policy.

Professor Troy Baisden. Photo / Supplied
Professor Troy Baisden. Photo / Supplied

Tomorrow night Niwa freshwater ecologist Tracey Burton will talk about aquatic plants in our lakes, Professor Brendan Hicks from the University of Waikato will present a catfish incursion update, and Dr Ian Kusabs will cover the state of kōura populations in Lakes Rotoiti and Rotorua and possible effects of catfish on them.

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The trust's environment manager Nicki Douglas told the Rotorua Daily Post the trust was trying to improve its feedback loop with the community.

Te Arawa Lakes Trust environmental manager Nicki Douglas and Te Arawa River Iwi Trust chief executive Eugene Berryman-Kamp. Photo / File
Te Arawa Lakes Trust environmental manager Nicki Douglas and Te Arawa River Iwi Trust chief executive Eugene Berryman-Kamp. Photo / File

"There is a lot of work being done to improve the health of our lakes but the community doesn't always have access to information about it. So we hope to continue these hui in the future."

Professor Brendan Hicks said he and fellow researchers had been studying the catfish in Lake Rotoiti alongside the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Lucas Macdonald, (left) and Te Arawa Lakes Trust's William Anaru, part of the catfish incursion response team. Photo / File
Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Lucas Macdonald, (left) and Te Arawa Lakes Trust's William Anaru, part of the catfish incursion response team. Photo / File

"They have used their netted catfish to collect data. We have had a masters student looking at the spread of catfish over the last three years and their diet."

He said their findings to date showed the catfish were not a threat to trout eggs or juvenile trout, but they were competing with trout for food.

"The bigger concern is that they are both preying on kōura and competing with them for food."

Bay of Plenty Regional Council biosecurity team leader Shane Grayling is leading the fight against catfish in Lake Rotoiti.

Professor Troy Baisden said his talk would explain easy ways for community members to be part of scientific work in their area.

"There is a lot of emerging technology that helps with this. There are also a lot of programmes in New Zealand that I want to talk about that specifically support research conducted by Māori."

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Rotorua Lakes hui
Tonight 6pm to 8.30pm
Tomorrow night 6pm to 8.30pm
Both will be held the Rotorua Council chambers on Haupapa St