About Me

Matt Hickey - owner/operator of Water Resource Management Ltd.

I was born in Southland and apart from a six year stint in the North Island I have lived in the ‘deep south’ for most of my life.  I now live in Dunedin, New Zealand.  Whenever I get the chance I enjoy getting out on the hill for a hunt or up a river valley fishing.  If the sea is flat a spot of blue codding is always on the cards.

After 12 years of working in freshwater management at both a regional and national level, I’ve decided to take on the challenge of working for myself in a field I’m passionate about.   

Watch a clip featuring me from Campbell Live »


During my career at local government level, I have undertaken technical leadership roles ensuring science outcomes will meet policy needs for addressing complex environmental issues. These roles have ranged from leading technical or internal project teams to working with external community groups (on issues such as group managed water and limit setting for both water quality and quantity).   At central government level I’ve worked on National Environmental Standards for environmental flow and allocation limits advising on both policy and science.  Furthermore I have contributed to guidance material for freshwater accounting primarily for implementation of New Zealand’s National Policy Statement – Freshwater Management.

Academic Qualifications:

2003: Masters in Science (awarded with Credit), Major: Ecology, University of Otago.

2002: Postgraduate Diploma in Science (awarded with Credit), University of Otago.

2001: Bachelor of Science Double Major in Ecology and Geography, University of Otago.

Scientific Publications:

McDowell, R.W., Snelder, T., Littlejohn, Hickey, M.A., Cox, N. and Booker, D.J. (2011)  State and potential management to improve water quality in an agricultural catchment relative to a natural baseline. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 144, 188– 200.

Hickey, M.A. and Closs, G.P. (2006) Evaluating the potential of night spotlighting as a method for assessing species composition and brown trout abundance: a comparison with electrofishing in small streams. Journal of Fish Biology 69, 1513 – 1523.

Leprieur, F., Hickey, M.A., Arbuckle, C.J., Closs, P.G. Brosse, S. & Townsend, C.R. (2006) Hydrological disturbance benefits, a native fish at the expense of an exotic fish. Journal of Applied Ecology 43, 930-939.

Additional management, technical knowledge and skills of relevance:

Divisional Manager: Resource Science – Otago Regional Council (ORC).
15/3/06 – 28/03/15  

In this position I managed a team of seven scientists that covered ground and surface water quality and allocation, ecology, hydrology and air quality. I provided technical oversight of the regional council’s state of the environment, hydrology and flood warning networks.  Furthermore I also set-up projects, and prepared and reviewed technical documents for National Policy Statement – Freshwater Management and Regional Plan implementation, specifically for:

As part of this role I also provided advice on policy development and implementation, prepared technical evidence for hearings and Environment Court and worked with community and stakeholders implementing the Regional Plan: Water for Otago.  Further I’ve often presented technical information in an audience friendly manner for community consultation, environment court mediation and councillor workshops.

Achievements: In 2007 ORC embarked on its water quality plan change known as 6A, and in early 2014 it was made operative.  I was responsible for delivering the technical work behind this and had significant input into the effects focus of the plan framework.  I was also part of the team that successfully mediated an outcome with the appellants which negated the need for an Environment Court hearing.

The team and I with the policy group successfully implemented environmental flows and limits on five rivers and prepared technical information for many more which are at varying points in the consultation process.   I contributed significantly to the policy development of the group managed water aspects of the Regional Plan: Water which was designed to deal with historical over allocation and environmental effects.

Water Resource Scientist: Resource Science Group – Otago Regional Council.
01/06/03 – 15/3/06

In this role I prepared and reported on technical information for setting environmental flows and allocation limits.  I also assessed numerous consent applications for their environmental effects and prepared and presented information for hearings and Environment court. 

Achievements: I produced technical reports for Trotter’s and Luggate Creeks and the Pomahaka, Waiwera, Taieri and Waianakarua Rivers.  These reports supported catchment specific environmental flow and allocation limits being set in the Regional Plan: Water.

National project contributions:

In 2006 I worked on the Sustainable Program of Action for Water, specifically the National Environmental Standard for Ecological Flows and Levels.   As a member of the working group I was able to apply my allocation knowledge to both policy and technical issues in a limit setting context.  Further to this I was also a reviewer of the final science report regarding ecological methods prepared by many of the lead scientists in this field. I have also been involved on a national level initiative by Regional Councils to present all their water quality and quantity data on a single website (www.lawa.org.nz).  I’ve been involved in both the quantity and quality working groups for this website initiative. More recently I contributed to the freshwater accounting guidance with Ministry for the Environment (MfE) and other parties as part of the implementation of the National Policy Statement – Freshwater Management.