The relationship between communities, land and water will be under the microscope thanks to a new research role funded by Hawke's Bay Regional Council and the University of Waikato.

The two organisations signed a memorandum of agreement on Friday, and together will fund a role whose focus will be on researching communities relationships with land and water, and how best to care for them.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council Group Manager Integrated Catchment Management, Ian Maxwell says the two organisations have shared interests in understating the societal challenges that exist in achieving integrated catchment management.

"This shared mission will create new knowledge and relevant tools, methods, and processes to support the sustainable use and protection of natural resources across environmental, economic, social, and cultural outcomes," Maxwell said.


"We aim to foster an integrated approach to research and the management of the land and water in catchments and the coast, recognising that these are all linked parts of the wider environment."

He said integrated management is a process which recognises everything in a catchment area in linked.

"We think of the catchment as a system so making a change in one area will impact another area."

"It is therefore ensuring we understand the system and that the Regional Council integrates its activities and the activities of others working within the catchment to achieve overall outcomes."

He gave the example of a farm with erosion prone soil.

"If we plant trees on erosion-prone slopes that will help ease erosion and limit the soil getting into rivers, which in turn improves water quality."

"It is important that when working with landowners and looking to improve our waterways we look at the overall picture as each action has an impact on the entire catchment."

He said HBRC and University of Waikato had a longstanding relationship.

"We have had a strong working relationship with the University of Waikato for a number of years."

"About a year ago we started looking at how we could bring our skills together for the benefit of everyone and this role was formed."

University of Waikato Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Bruce Clarkson said he is happy with the agreement.

"This is a logical result of our research strengths in catchment management and regional scale restoration," Clarkson said.

"We are looking forward to the opportunity to work more closely with the Hawke's Bay Regional Council staff, councillors and the wider community."

The role is yet to be appointed, but they are hoping to have someone in the role early next year.