May 2023 Thriving Southland Newsletter

Welcome to our May Newsletter

It’s been a fantastic month with plenty of great events as Catchment Groups have made the most of the autumn weather in Southland.
We recently held a stakeholder breakfast, with Catchment Group members presenting some of the great projects being delivered across the region. We also were able to share that we’ve secured another two years’ funding. This has been made possible thanks to the hard work and innovation of the amazing Catchment Groups - 35 at last count! - and we’re thrilled to be able to keep supporting and enabling them in Southland.
The ACE stream walks have been really well attended with events exploring gems like Big Lagoon near Waimatuku, checking out a sediment trap project at Drummond, and hearing about the latest Kana Kana/Lamprey research at the Pourakino event.
More than 100 farmers from the Otama, Between the Domes and Mid Aparima Catchment Groups heard Dr Ants Roberts talk in the last week of March, when he ran a series of workshops about Greenhouse Gas challenges and solutions. Ants also spent time with the Carbon Neutral Dipton team.
Special mention goes out to Hedgehope Makarewa Catchment Group, who were showcased at the Ballance Farm Environment Awards Southland.
The month ahead looks action packed already, with the Beyond Regulation Field Day: Finding the right pathway forward for you and your business (Sheep & Beef Farm Case Study) a big date on the calendar - hope to see you there!

GHG Workshops with Ants Roberts throughout Southland

More than 100 farmers from the Otama, Between the Domes and Mid Aparima Catchment groups were lucky enough to hear Dr Ants Roberts, Chief Scientific Officer at Ravensdown, talk in the last week of March, when he ran a series of workshops for Thriving Southland.
He discussed the science behind our Greenhouse Gas numbers and what they mean, helping unravel the myths and build knowledge. With some big challenges ahead of us its empowering to discuss how making small changes on farm will result in cumulative gains over time.  Thanks Ants and the Southland Ravensdowns team for all your support during these events and making them possible.

Carbon Neutral Dipton catchup with Ants Roberts

Carbon Neutral Dipton Team had a great get together with Dr. Ant Roberts. Four of the case study farms and some of their buddies caught up with him over a yummy lunch. They talked through different mitigation ideas to reduce GHG emissions on farm, when new mitigations might be through the research and registration phase, and quick wins the teams could consider, like tightening up and evaluating all aspects of your farm system. This has been shown to be very effective (10-12%) in reducing emissions.  They also had a really valuable chat on being mindful of making changes and the impact that this could have on profitability, water quality, biodiversity and animal health.

Many thanks to Clare for the delicious scones and Ant for sharing his amazing knowledge.

NZ Farm Environment Trust Awards recognises Catchment Group success

Congratulations to Cameron and Robert Grant and family for taking out the top prize at the NZ Farm Environment Trust Awards here in Southland. We are so proud of all the entrants who are making a positive impact in the primary sector, environment and contributing to the growth of the food and fibre sector.

We were thrilled to see so many of our Catchment Group members among the finalists and entrants. You guys are truly awesome and inspiring!
Special mention goes out to Hedgehope Makarewa Catchment Group, who were showcased at the awards. They have had an amazing year and achieved so much. It's fantastic to see them recognised and sharing their work, projects, and findings with the wider community.

ACE Stream Walks - Receiving environments with the Waimatuku Catchment Group

Fantastic afternoon in early April learning about the great work being done around Big Lagoon at Waimatuku. We walked through a large scale regenerating native bush block to see a natural wetland 're-wetting', low land lakes and more. Experts Jesse Bythell, QEll and the Environment Southland Biodiversity team walked with us through the site and discussed unique characteristics. We talked about animal and plant pest control options, ecological surveys, fish passage and how you can access the environmental enhancement fund. Thanks heaps to the Hodsells for hosting, ACE - Aparima Community Environment and Waimatuku Catchment Group.

ACE - Pourakino Catchment Group stream walk

What a day we had at the Pourakino Catchment Group’s stream walk. We were generously hosted by the Kells family and heard from DairyNZ’s Justin Kitto on the ACE water testing sites and eDNA results.

Dr. Jane Kitson shared her latest research and findings on Kana Kana in the Pourakino and elsewhere, and researchers from Canterbury and Otago University spoke passionately about habitat restoration and fish passage. We then headed out for an electric fishing demo from Fish and Game’s Zane Moss, and some eDNA sampling.  Tremendous day, lots of interesting updates and learning. A massive thanks to our hosts and all the presenters/demonstrators.

Trap the Cr*p sediment trap and wetlands field day

There was some great ideas and discussion at the ACE sediment trap and wetlands Trap the Cr*p field day at the Dietche’s property at Drummond.
Dirk Dietche talked about the sediment traps they have built on their farm and wetland expert Craig Simpson talked about the work the Pomahaka Water Care Group has done, their findings and results.  Craig also spoke about where to start with a sediment trap, big or small. Then we checked out the sediment traps, and the plantings the Waimatuku Catchment Group helped with two years ago.  We finished with lunch, which everyone enjoyed, especially the dog who got in there a little ahead of everyone else!

Thriving Southland Breakfast and stakeholder update

A fantastic stakeholder breakie update was had on the 20 April. The breakfast provides a great way for our local Stakeholders to catch up on the work of Southland's wonderful network of Catchment Groups, and a chance for us to thank them for the support they give to the Groups. Four Catchment Group members give a brief run-down on the projects they have underway in their catchment and we showcase some of our new Catchment Groups display boards. In the next few weeks, each Catchment Group will have their own board.

Balfour Catchment Group run-off project field day

Balfour farmers Andrea and Chris Bulleid are part of the Run-off workstream of the Balfour Project.
A fantastic field day was held at the Bulleid property, looking at the science with Land and Water Science and drone mapping with Tim Campbell Water Design. We then ventured out for a look at the proposed 1ha wetland site, and newly installed check dams. Andrea spoke about the importance of giving things a go, and the value in small changes over time. Well done team!

Southland Catchment Group – Farmer photoshoot

First and foremost, we want to express our gratitude to all those who took part in this project. We had an amazing time exploring the beautiful countryside of Southland and capturing the essence of our rural community through our lenses.

Without your support, this project wouldn't have been possible.

We're excited to announce that we'll be showcasing some of the recent ‘couch’ photos from our Southland Farmer photoshoot - check out the event below.

On May 22nd, from 2-4pm, we'll be hosting a public gallery at Ascot Park Hotel.

The gallery is all about celebrating the 35 Southland Catchment Groups, where we’ll have a board for each Group highlighting and showcasing some of their achievements, project overviews, and pictures. Additionally, we'll have a photo wall featuring all the couch photos from the shoot, upcoming events, showcase projects and more.

We’d love for you to come check it out and see how these pictures have come together to showcase the diverse and vibrant community of rural Southland.

The gallery event is open to all, and you’re more than welcome to bring a friend and/or pass this invite on.

Our Land and Water National Science Challenge Project

A team of researchers and rural practitioners are conducting a project for the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge to identify ways to connect rural and peri-urban producers with the wider public around farming activities and food production. 

They want to understand what farmers and the public consider to be the characteristics of a good farmer.

And would love your help with a 10-minute anonymous survey. Plus, at the end of the survey you can nominate a rural charity that they will donate to on your behalf.

Knapdale Catchment Group

Date the Catchment Group started

The Group started in July 2022 with a core of interested farmers.

Number of members in the Catchment Group


Types of people in the group

The Knapdale catchment is a mix of arable, sheep, beef and dairy and is open to everyone.

Hosted events/meetings
A community event was held and Lynden Prebble from the Greater Dipton Catchment Group popped along to share his experiences on forming a Catchment Group.
Future plans
The Catchment Group are interested in exploring EDNA/MCI testing, erosion control, nitrogen efficiency and weather monitoring at one central point within the catchment.
Who to get in touch with
Group Contacts are Nadine Hishon on 0274052952 and Blair McKenzie on 0272227677 or
Group coordinator, Tania Clarke on 021 399 343 or

Pictured above:

Orauea River Catchment Group Field Day
2 May, from 1pm
881 Feldwick Road, Birchwood

The Oraeua River Catchment Group have been working on their project Understanding the geology, prioritising and defining solutions to sediment and E. coli in the Orauea River, with the aim to give land users information and confidence to mitigate losses.

Join us for our second field day looking at two different sheep and beef properties with differing risk areas. Once again we will be joined by the team from Land & Water Science, and there will be some other experts on hand to join the discussion.

For more information and to RSVP, contact Jacqui Chamberlain, Project Coordinator 027 225 5100 or email

Mini Forest Movement Open Evenings: First Tuesday of every month

2 May, from 4pm to 7pm
AB Lime Nursery, 10 Bend Road, Winton

The Mid Oreti Catchment Group are hosting open working-bee evenings at the AB Lime Nursery. Your help will go toward growing plants for the Mid Oreti Mini Forest Movement Project which aims to provide native plants to the local community and landowners for their planting projects. Training is provided and all ages welcome!
Stay for as little or as long as you can.  At the moment, we’re focusing on potting up seedlings but in the future seed preparing and sowing, weeding and moving plants will be required.

Balfour Project N-Loss Field Day

10 May, starting at 1pm
Brendon Stevens, Pahiwi Rd, Balfour
The Land & Water Science team will be talking through the science behind the N-Loss workstream of the Balfour Project. We will visit multiple sites on the Stevens property to gain understanding around the new mapping data. Keep an eye out on the Thriving Southland website for more details.

Beyond Regulation Field Day: Finding the right pathway forward for you and your business (Sheep and Beef Farm Case Study)

9 May, from 1.30pm to 4.30pm
Wendonside Hall, 857 Main Wendonside Road, 9777 (followed by farm visit)
This is a must attend field day! The Beyond Regulation Project is capturing some fantastic insights for sheep and beef farming.

Guest Speakers are Clint Rissmann, Land & Water Science, Miranda Hunter, Roslin Consultancy, Don Frengley, Forestry consultant and Lynden Prebble, Sheep and Beef farmer.

Mid Oreti Native Seed Collecting & Pest Control Workshop event

17 May, from 3.30pm to 6.30pm
AB Lime Nursery, 10 Bend Road, Winton

Join the Mid Oreti Team for some seed collecting in Motu Ngahere (AB Lime’s native forest block), and enjoy a guided walk around this lovely forest learning about the different pest control methods they use to protect it.  The loop track takes about 10 minutes and Brad (Biodiversity Manager) will stop at different pest control stations along the way and talk about how they work and what they target.
The group will then head back down to the nursery and plant up their seeds.  You are welcome to bring you own containers (ice cream ones are great) and plant them up for your plantings at home, or sow some for the Mid Oreti Mini Forest Movement Project.
Sturdy footwear is required, and it would be great if you have a 4WD that you could bring along to help with transport.  Don’t worry if you don’t as there will be some on site already to help the group get up the hill to Motu Ngahere.

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 May,
Ngā mihi
Richard Kyte (Thriving Southland Project Lead) and the Thriving Southland Team


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