ENVSCI 711 : Assessing Environmental Effects


2023 Semester Two (1235) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

A focus on the interdisciplinary, scientific assessment of environmental activities with specific reference to the New Zealand context. Methodologies used in the assessment, monitoring and regulation of environmental effects, trends and risks will be critically evaluated. Aspects of the RMA, including consenting procedures and the role of public and professional participants in the process, will be discussed. A key component of the assessment is the preparation of an individual Assessing Environmental Effects report.

Course Overview

The course will provide an understanding of Assessing Environmental Effects (AEE) in the New Zealand context. This will include the statutory backdrop and regulatory framework (e.g., Resource Management Act) for AEE and how the processes and expectations for AEE continue to change over time. The course will provide a practical overview of the steps in the AEE process with reference to real-world examples. Finally, the course will outline the stages in the resource consenting process, locate AEE within that process and demonstrate the role that AEE play in decision-making. The core objective of the course is to ensure that students understand the purpose of AEE in the consenting process and the key tools practitioners use.

A mix of learning approaches will be used. The first part of each session will generally provide an overview of key theories, concepts, and tools relating to AEE. The second part of the session will comprise facilitated group discussions and practical class exercises where students work individually and in groups. A fieldtrip will build on the in-class learning and introduce students to a real-life scenario. Assessment will include the preparation of an AEE report and a critique of the role AEE play within the resource consenting system.
The skills developed in this course are particularly useful for those wishing to work in environmental management, including those pursuing careers as applied environmental scientists, planners, or policy analysts. These positions exist in consultancies, private companies and NGOs as well as local and national government.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of an Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE) and the process followed to undertake one (Capability 1 and 6)
  2. Critically evaluate the role AEE play within the RMA framework including requirements relating to stakeholder engagement and communications (Capability 1 and 2)
  3. Undertake an assessment of environmental effects (Capability 1, 2, 4 and 5)
  4. Critically evaluate the role AEE play within the New Zealand resource consenting system (Capability 2, 3 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Pre-course reading and questions 20% Individual Coursework
In-class exercises 20% Individual Coursework
Assignments 60% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Pre-course reading and questions
In-class exercises


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

As part of the University-wide Tuākana community, The School of Environment Tuākana Programme aims to provide a welcoming learning environment for, and enhance the success of, all of our Māori and Pacific students. We are led by the principles of tautoko (support) and whanaungatanga (connection), and hope you find a home here at the School. Students who have identified as Māori and/or Pacific will receive an invitation to our online portal introducing the Programme, the resources we have available, and how you can get involved.
Māori and Pacific students are encouraged to contact Sonia Fonua (s.fonua@auckland.ac.nz) or Kimoro Taiepa (kimoro.taiepa@auckland.ac.nz) for information about the Tuākana programme.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 15 hours of lectures, 20 hours of tutorials and group activities, 30 hours of reading and analysis and 85 hours of assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including lectures, class activities and assignments to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings where possible. Other learning activities including meetings will be available as recordings where possible.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a block delivery plus field trip.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

All resources will be provided through Canvas.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

This course is updated each year according to student feedback.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 28/10/2022 11:27 a.m.