About Thriving Southland

Who is Thriving Southland?

Thriving Southland is a community-led group with a vision to create a prosperous Southland, healthy people, healthy environment from the mountains to the sea. 

By working together, Thriving Southland’s communities will create a better future for all by protecting Southland’s prosperity, heritage, environment and health. 

What is a Catchment Group?

A group of people who identify with a geographical area, usually based on a river or lake catchment, working together to take action towards a common vision.

Why are Catchment Groups so great? 

When farmers and the community get together to discuss local issues and opportunities, great things can happen. Contact our catchment group coordinators to find out more.

Watch our latest video celebrating two years of Thriving Southland below. 

How can Thriving Southland help me? 

We are here to connect you with members of the farming community and to support you on this journey. We provide free resources, support great events and empower you to take ownership of local issues so they can be addressed and resolved. Our dedicated team of coordinators is here to encourage and develop groups, get projects off the ground and inspire community action. 

Thank you to all the contributors to Thriving Southland, including the farmers and community members who are part of Catchment Groups driving change and environmental improvements in their backyards.

The Project and Catchment Coordinator Teams

Our Vision

A prosperous Southland, healthy people, healthy environment from the mountains to the sea.

Our Mission

For the Southland community to work together for a better future for all. Protecting Southland's prosperity, heritage, environment and health through community collaboration.

Project Team

Richard Kyte

Project Lead
027 298 7786

Sandra King

Project Manager
021 488 180

Sheree Forsythe

Project Administrator
021 466 700

Catchment Group Coordinators

Waiau & Upper Oreti

Waiau & Upper Oreti

Clare Officer

Catchment Coordinator
027 371 9791

I’m originally from the UK where I grew up on our family dairy farm which ignited my passion for agriculture (especially dairying) and all things rural. We moved to NZ 16 years ago and now dairy farm at Centre Bush. As well as being a hands on dairy farmer, I’m mum to four school aged children.
Having been working on farm for the last 20 years I am excited to have joined the Thriving Team and look forward being able to work with like-minded farmers and catchment groups, that are as passionate about the industry as I am and support them to enhance their farms, catchments and rural communities for the next generation.

Aparima & Te Anau

Aparima & Te Anau

Rachael Halder

Senior Catchment Coordinator
‭021 566 229‬

I’m lucky enough to have grown up on a farm and am passionate about rural life and all aspects of agriculture. Before joining Thriving Southland I was working in Scotland for LIC and prior to this I was a Local Agribusiness Manager for Westpac. Farming is increasingly diversified, and working within the primary sector has provided me with the chance to learn and experience a range of opportunities and challenges. I look forward to working with farmers and catchment groups to drive positive change, sustainability and prosperity

Lower & Mid Oreti

Lower & Mid Oreti

Sarah Thorne

Catchment Coordinator
‭027 588 5200‬

I love working with Southland's Catchment Groups and all the agencies and people that support them. I put my heart and soul into my work, and love seeing the real and lasting changes we are making across Southland. Southland is an amazing place to live and raise a family that love water like mine do.

Tania Clarke

Catchment Coordinator
021 399 343

I’m a proud Southlander, growing up on a deer farm near Balfour. I left to study and work in art gallery management before returning to Southland to farm alongside my husband Alan. We grow grain, farm deer and run our agricultural contracting business during the warmer months. I have a passion for rural life in the deep South and believe there is no better place to live and raise a family.

Mid & Lower Mataura

Mid & Lower Mataura

Tessa Miller

Catchment Coordinator
‭021 400 431‬

I am a born and bred Southlander, with strong ties to both the dairy and sheep & beef industry. After studying at Lincoln University, I worked for both DairyNZ and Landpro, in their environmental teams. My husband and I are lucky enough to have joined his family sheep and beef farm in Otama, where we are excited to take on the challenge of balancing productivity with environmental responsibility on our land. The opportunity to support and learn from other farmers and growers, while contributing to the growth of the Southland region and the network of catchment groups, is an exciting one!

Thriving Southland Board

Jeff Grant

Independent Chair

Kate Scott

Vice Chair

Ewen Mathieson

Farmer - Dairy, Beef, Sheep
Pourakino Catchment Group, Board Member

John White

Farmer - Dairy
Lower Aparima Catchment Group Board Member

Neil Gardyne

Farmer - Beef, Sheep, Cropping
Board Member

Bernadine Balle

Independent Board Member

Anna Irwin

Associate Board Member

Appointed Nov 2023

Our Values


Brilliant is facing our challenges head on, being prepared to work hard for success, and always celebrating our achievements.


Our best collaboration comes from being honest, acting with integrity, and being prepared to learn from others. Through collaboration we will deliver results.


Community is at the centre of everything we do. Our success comes from connecting others, and empowering communities to thrive for the future of our children.


We will inspire greatness through our passion. Our passion for Southland and its communities is at the heart of who we are.


We encourage innovation, foster opportunity and seek outcomes through on the ground action.

Southland Images

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