Robbie Andrew

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Rural production potential


The Greater Otaki area, that part of the Kapiti Coast District north of Te Hapua Rd, has a long history of food production with a significant endowment of good soils and favourable climate. For over 160 years it has supplied the Wellington region with food, and - with its proximity to the city of Wellington - it has recently become attractive as a rural retreat for city-dwellers. Recent years have also seen a decline in horticultural production in the area, for a number of reasons, among which are increased costs such as compliance and land, competition from larger operations and imports, and changing consumer expectations and demands with respect to food. Kapiti Coast District Council has received feedback from the community of Greater Otaki expressing concern for this decline and a desire for supporting a local-food economy and more 'resilience' in general. In addition, there is concern that lifestyle blocks and 'urban sprawl' are occupying more and more land with quality soils, effectively locking them away from potential future horticultural use. This report investigates these issues by drawing on a community survey, focus groups, conversations with producers and industry bodies, and available secondary data from a range of sources.

Human carrying capacity

report PDF

What is the maximum human population that a small district can sustain? In this study, Robbie Andrew and colleagues explore the concept of human carrying capacity, how it could be applied at the local scale, and how the upper limits of human activity could be defined. Learn more »

Services from the environment to our culture


The field of ecosystem services describes how we benefit from the environment, including in intangible ways. While there are some established (albeit debated) methods for putting a value on some services, cultural ecosystem services are often placed in the too-hard basket. In this work, Robbie Andrew provides an overview of cultural ES, discussing the difficulties and presenting some potential solutions. Learn more »

Scenarios of four futures

conference report

In support of qualitative scenario work based on four potential futures of New Zealand, Oscar Montes de Oca and colleagues developed a dynamic environment-economy model. The model combines the dynamics of population, labour force, economic growth, and environmental impacts to investigate the potential outcomes of the scenarios. Learn more »

Loss of high-class agricultural land

Development of smallholdings in New Zealand has increased in recent years, as people choose to get back to nature or escape the rat race. Robbie Andrew and John Dymond calculate how much of New Zealand’s best agricultural soils have been ‘lost’ to lifestyle blocks, and discuss what is meant by ‘loss’ in this context.Learn more »

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