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Rural LivingTe noho tuawhenua

Rural communities are where people both live and work. So it’s important to consider your neighbours if you’re thinking of carrying out any activities that might cause adverse effects on adjoining properties. Effects from such things as: noise, smell, smoke, dust and spray.

Country Living


It can be but remember - the rural environment is where people live and work. That means its both a beautiful landscape and a place of production.

Some production activities create effects that are noticeable on adjoining properties. Many of these effects are a necessary and legitimate part of rural production. Maybe not all day or all year - but sometimes, depending on the season there might be:

  • Noise - Dogs barking, farm machinery operating, planting or harvesting activities, stock being moved, bird scaring devices, truck movements in the early or late hours, stock noise at weaning time, helicopters
  • Smell - Animal enclosures, silage, effluent disposal
  • Smoke - Stubble burn-off or other fires
  • Dust - Cultivation, planting and harvesting, vehicles on unsealed roads and driveways
  • Spray - Agrichemical spraying of crops and paddocks

Look around the rural neighbourhood and see what's there. Think about how established activities might affect you.

Ask around - find out what day to day life is like in that rural area in all seasons. Spend some time there - check it out in good weather and bad weather days and all wind directions.

Can I Do Anything I Want On My Land?

It might pay to check. Usually you can provided your activities don't cause adverse environmental effects.

Councils are responsible for managing the effects of activities and may have rules and bylaws controlling things like:

  • House location and the number of houses
  • Location of farm buildings and stock yards
  • Disposal of household sewage and stock effluent
  • Taking water from the ground or rivers
  • Discharges to ground and water
  • Burning of open fires
  • Distances of shelter belts and plantation forestry from boundaries
  • Noise
  • Removal of scrub or trees
  • Earthworks to build access tracks

There may be particular or additional controls in areas that have special landscape or ecological importance.

Ask the Council for a copy of the rules applying to your property and rural neighbourhood

Just as in town it's important to get on with neighbours. The council can set basic guidelines or standards, but when it comes to managing minor matters its up to you and your neighbours. Make sure you get hold of your neighbours if anything happens on their property that might affect you and tell your neighbours about your plans that might affect them.

Will My Green Rural Outlook Change?

The rural landscape is constantly changing. Change is necessary and inevitable part of living in the country.

  • Farming methods change
  • New types of rural production will occur
  • Crops (including trees) will be harvested
  • Land may be subdivided
  • New people and new ideas will come

Council's rules are not intended to preserve things as they are now but to manage the environmental effects of ongoing changes. Ask the council about its rules for rural subdivisions and the location of buildings on adjoining land.

Other Things To Check

Other things to check:

  • Requirements for controlling serious weeds
  • Responsibility for controlling dogs and livestock
  • The use of chemical sprays
  • The location of emergency services (doctor, rural fire service)
  • Power connections to the property
  • Hawke's Bay Regional Council

Roads and Driveways

District Councils are responsible for local roads and NZTA is responsible for state highways. Private driveways are the responsibility of private landowners.

Check whether access driveways from public roads are part of the property or crosses other land.

Make sure any right of way is recorded on the title.

Check that any right of way shown on paper matches up with the formed access.

Check the location of any dwelling in relation to other people's or shared driveways - vehicles using driveways can cause dust.

Water and Sewerage

Most rural properties have to provide for their own water supply and sewage disposal. This usually means rain water has to be collected in tanks or water has to be pumped from waterways or an underground bore. If water is already piped onto the property from elsewhere, find out where it comes from and check that there is an easement or permission that allows this to continue - even in summer dry periods.

Sewage disposal is often to a septic tank. Septic tanks need to be emptied periodically.

It may be that you will need to install a new water supply or sewage disposal system - especially if the property is bare land.

Check that any existing water supply and sewage disposal systems meet the required standards and actually work.

Rural landowners are responsible for the ongoing maintenance of water supply and sewage disposal systems - you'll need to know how to maintain pumps and clear blocked drains.


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