March 2023 Thriving Southland Newsletter

Welcome to our March newsletter! 

First and foremost this month, our hearts and thoughts go out to everyone affected by Cyclone Gabrielle in the North Island.
It’s a devastating time for many people both personally and professionally, and no doubt many people in Southland are wondering what they can do to help support people in need in some way.
AgProud NZ has been working on ideas around cyclone support and is suggesting the following:
“In response to the devastation of Cyclone Gabrielle, Ag Proud and Federated Farmers are getting in behind initiatives with our trusted rural providers. PGG Wrightsons, Farm Source, Rural co and Farmlands. This will allow whatever resources most needed to be deployed across all regions effected. For now we are focusing on collecting funds so please get in touch with your local supplier to help farming communities in their hour of need.”
Keep in touch with developments on the AgProud Facebook page here.
The Rural Support Trust National also has information about efforts to support those affected in the farming community - click here for more.
The rural sector around New Zealand is strong and united in the face of adverse events - and we know many of you will be thinking about the enormous scale of what is needed for recovery.
Here in Southland, the new year has seen groups around Southland feeling re-energised after the summer break. The Thriving Southland Catchment Co-ordination team are busy helping organise meetings and events, and there’s more new Groups popping up.
Many projects, both small and large, are progressing well and new ideas are being turned into inspiring community action all the time.
Read all about this month’s happenings and what’s coming up below!

Thriving Southland Annual Survey

Small actions can have big results! We need your help with a small action – check your inbox for our quick survey that will help us understand what's important to you.

Thriving Southland supports Catchment Groups, farmers and communities across Southland, and our annual survey gives us vital information that can be used in a range of ways to provide support.

We sent the survey to you last week. If you haven’t received it, please email and we’ll send it to you.

Also, by participating in this survey you also go in the draw to win a $100 grocery voucher. Go on – just think what you might do with the extra $100.

Groups making great progress on their Projects

Last newsletter we mentioned the Carbon Neutral Dipton Project by the Greater Dipton Catchment Group.  Join them on 14 March 1-3pm at the Dipton Golf Club to meet the farmers and consultants who are brainstorming and evaluating exciting ways to reduce GHG emissions on their farms.

Hedgehope Makarewa has just completed some fantastic work as part of their Understanding Your Landscape Project.  They have used state of the art technology to map their catchment’s landscape and its interaction with water quality and GHG emissions in far more detail than ever before.
Working closely with Land and Water Science they have created an online map that really answers the question of “what is under my feet?” Their catchment has highly variable landscapes, and this means a one size solution for water quality and greenhouse gas mitigations will not fit all. The maps are available to farmers and landowners in the catchment to help select appropriate mitigations and target them to the areas with the highest risk on your farm.
The map is free, and you can get access by contacting Mo Topham on 027 279 7449. You can also pop along to one of two field days at their case study farms to learn more. The first is the Southern Dairy Hub field day this week (2 March) and the second is the on 17 March at the Claymore Dairies and Roslyn Downs properties.

Lower Aparima Catchment Group

When did the group start and how many members?
The Group began in April 2016 and now has 100 people as part of it.
Who are the members?
We are a diverse Group open to the entire community, from deer, beef, sheep and dairy farmers to industry and community members from Riverton township, right through to recreational users of the Aparima River.
What projects have been completed?

  • Winter crop tours

  • Field days

  • The Group has also contacted individual farmers to try and raise awareness on the Land and Water Plan and water quality

  • Hearings and submissions to Environment Southland Water and Land Plan

  • Stream walks 

What projects are happening now or being planned?

  • We are part of the Aparima Community Environment (ACE) project. The aim of this project is to build and support the resilience of the Aparima community and the environment by mobilising farmers, landowners and the wider community to take on-ground action.

  • Hosting events/meetings throughout the year to provide an opportunity for farmers to exchange ideas and have productive discussions - including expert speakers. 

How do we get in touch?
Group facilitator - Simon Hopcroft on 027 201 0377
Group coordinator - Rachael Halder (Thriving Southland) on 021 566 229

Forming a Catchment Group - Waikaia Catchment Group

The Lora and Otapiri Gorge crews didn’t let rain dampen their Christmas spirits. They just moved their event indoors and had a great Christmas Social. Huge thanks to Margie, Paul, Mark and Elspeth for pulling together an amazing event in very wet conditions. The stream investigation at the community restoration site (with the new DairyNZ water quality monitoring kits) will be run next year when the stream isn’t so fast and high.

What is influencing our water quality - Otama Catchment Group

A group of interested farmers and community members came along to listen to Clint Rissman from Land and Water Science present science-based information on how water moves through the Otama catchment, and the role the landscape plays in influencing water quality.
This event gave this newly formed Catchment Group an understanding of the key physiographic landscape settings influencing their area. It was a fantastic evening that helped grow a solid base knowledge, opened up discussion around possible mitigations and connected a community. It was lovely to see members stay for supper and a chat about what they had learned.

Lower Waiau Catchment Group Stream Health Check and BBQ

Left: Stream health check. Right: Dobson Fly.

A great family day out in the beautiful Lilburn Valley in late January with the Lower Waiau Catchment Group. We carried out some stream health checks at two locations, completed a rapid habitat assessment and had lots of fun finding an array of life in the stream. Topped off with a BBQ. Massive thanks to our hosts the Robertson and King families, and to Jessica and Nicola from the Environment Southland Land Sustainability Team, for their input, and to BNZ for sponsoring the event and the kai.

Southland's Future Environmental Challenges - Waikaia Catchment Group
Waikaia Catchment Group

1 March, from 1.30pm
Waikaia Hotel

The Waikaia Catchment Group welcomes Environmental Southland to give an update on the environmental challenges facing Southland. The presentation will be followed by afternoon tea.

For more information contact Tania Clarke, Thriving Southland, on or 021 399 343

Presenting Understanding our Landscape to drive change at SDH Field Day -  Hedgehope Makarewa Catchment Group
2 March, from 11am to 1pm
Southern Dairy Hub, 225 Branxholme Makarewa Road

This field day includes a 30-minute session presented by Hedgehope Makarewa Catchment Group on their Understanding Our Landscape to Drive Change Project - digging the dirt on soil types and optimising nitrogen use. 
Registration from 10.30am, the event will be followed by a BBQ lunch sponsored by Farm Source. 
Follow this link to register for the SDH Field Day -
If you'd like to find out more about the project, there is another field day on one of the case study farms – details are in the 'Upcoming Events' section.

Understanding Your Landscape to Drive Change Field day
17 March, from 10.30am to 1.30pm
Quentin and Jason Miller, Te Tipua Valley Road (off Brydone Glencoe Road)

Our hosts Quentin and Jason Miller will explain how they will use the info on their recently purchased dairy farm (Claymore Dairies) and their home sheep and beef property (Roslyn Downs).  
Please wear appropriate footwear and clothing as we will be visiting sites of interest on farm.

For catering purposes, please RSVP to Mo Topham 027 279 7449.

Mini Forest Movement Open Evening - Mid Oreti Catchment Group
AB Lime Nursery (10 Bend Road, Winton)
7 March, from 4pm to 6pm

The Mid Oreti Catchment Group's Mini Forest Movement is growing trees for landowners, schools and community groups across Central Southland.
There is lots of work in the nursery to be done like potting up seedlings. Drop in anytime between 4pm and 6pm to lend a hand. All training provided - you might even learn some new skills! Volunteers are able to take home one potted native plant each time they help out.
There will be our annual get together at the Top Pub Lounge Bar afterwards from 6pm to 7pm, so pop along.

Mid Oreti Catchment Group Annual Group Get Together
Top Pub Lounge Bar, Winton
7 March, from 6pm to 7pm

Starting the year with a bang!  Hear about what has been achieved in the last year, ongoing projects, and workshop together to set the direction for projects and events for 2023.  Everyone and anyone most welcome.  Always great to see new faces!
Waimatuku Stream mouth beach clean up - Waimatuku Catchment Group
12 March, from 11am

Meet at the Waimatuku River Mouth or you can also arrive via the northern entrance to Oreti Beach (4x4 required).

Come down to the Waimatuku Stream mouth and help us tidy up our backyard.

Bring a hat, water and a sack to collect rubbish. Iceblocks provided and spot prizes up for grabs.

Postponement date 19th March. Notice of postponement available on local community Facebook pages and sent to the Waimatuku CG email list.
Greater Dipton Catchment Group - Carbon Neutral Dipton Launch
14 March, from 1pm to 3pm
Dipton Golf Club, Bryce Road, Dipton 9791,
Free afternoon tea.

The Greater Dipton Catchment Group are launching their latest Project! And it’s a great one. Meet the farmers and consultants who will be brainstorming and evaluating exciting ways to reduce GHG emissions on their farms. We’ll have some experts on hand to talk about greenhouse gases, forestry to capture carbon and a quick overview of the ETS. Bring any questions you have.
Follow us at Carbon Neutral Dipton or at

There are likely to be more events in the pipeline so make sure you check out the events section on the Thriving Southland website and the Facebook page for details.

Have a great March,

Ngā mihi

Richard Kyte (Thriving Southland Project Lead) and the Thriving Southland Team


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