June 2023 Thriving Southland Newsletter

Welcome to our June Newsletter 

It’s hard to believe Thriving Southland turns three this month!
There’s so much happening on the ground with 35 Catchment Groups in the region now, covering more thn 90% of Southland.
Lots of great projects are on the go, some just starting and others starting to culminate with fantastic outputs that are making a real difference — reflecting the hard work of Catchment Group members.
One of the really pleasing aspects has been the ability to show that environmental mitigations don’t need to break the bank — that real change is achievable, and that there’s pathways that makes sense.
Better understanding what’s beneath our feet is a big part of the equation, and we’re delighted to see so many farmers across all the sectors in Southland getting real value out of of participating in events and projects that often assist them to confirm what they intuitively know to be true.
During May we held another Southland Catchment Group Forum and it was a cracker with a keynote speaker, a panel discussion, some quick quizzes, a gallery of couch photos, Catchment Group boards and lots of networking. See the pics below.
We’re also delighted that the Government is investing in the Catchment Group eco-system, building upon Southland's strength as New Zealand's biggest regional food basket by supporting the Thriving Southland Food and Fibre Investment Accelerator project to identify new high-value land use opportunities for the region. Watch this space as we’ll be coming to you soon for your thoughts on what these opportunities might be!
Exciting times ahead - stay warm out there.

Thriving Southland Catchment Forum a cracker of an evening

We always aim for every Southland Catchment Group Forum to be a bit different! This time we had a keynote speaker, Nick Pyke, a panel discussion, some quick quizzes, a gallery of couch photos and Catchment Group boards and lots of networking and food. Many thanks to Nick Pyke AGMARDT, Jeff Grant, Jon Pemberton and the 55 representatives from 18 Southland Catchment Groups who made it such a great night.

ACE in the News - Great turnouts for Aparima Community Environment events

Sediment trap site visits, presentations on Kana Kana (Lamprey) research and a glimpse of a southern coastal gem were among the many attractions in a series of events hosted by Aparima Catchment Groups during April - read all about it here.

New winter grazing rules from May
New winter grazing rules came into effect on 1 May - but it’s not too late to apply for a consent or deemed permitted activity if you need one. Environment Southland (ES) has been impressed with improvements in grazing practice in the region during the past few years and really want to see this continue with the new rules. The ES compliance team is out and about monitoring grazing practice. If you’re not sure how the rules affect you, take a look at the handy checklist on the ES website here.

Waikaia Catchment Group

Crystal clear water in the Waikaia River

Number of members in the Catchment Group
Date the Catchment Group started
January 2023
Types of people in the group
The Waikaia catchment is a mix of high-country stations, forestry, sheep, beef and dairy. The catchment also includes the township of Waikaia.

Hosted events/meetings
A keen group of 15 met up in January 2023 to discuss the possibilities around forming a Waikaia Catchment Group, to talk about topics of interest and ideas for future projects.

Waikaia Catchment Group held an event in March with Environment Southland presenting on Southland’s future environmental challenges. Other topics of interest include erosion control, EDNA/MCI testing and pests. 

Contact for group: Group coordinator - Tania Clarke on 021 399 343  or

Using the Science – the second Orauea River Catchment Group mitigations field day

Orauea River Catchment Group held a fantastic field day in early May. With the whole catchment mapped and high-risk areas identified using the science we moved on to looking at a farm level and the landowner’s knowledge of their properties to discuss some possible practical on farm mitigations. We’re looking forward to seeing where the Group decide to go with this project - how could we start using this knowledge to look at mitigations at a catchment-wide level?

Mini Forest Movement Open Evening a great team effort

Check out our last Mid Oreti Mini Forest Project pot up. Thanks to the great team effort we have lots of beautifully weeded plants, and lots more potted up and growing big and strong. Why not come and join us next month. It’s a lot of fun and you’ll join some great company.

Carbon Neutral Dipton Case Study Farmers and Buddy Group Members Mitigation Catch Up

Super interesting, jam packed afternoon with Carbon Neutral Dipton Case Study farmers and their buddies. We heard from Toha Science about opportunities, and Dr Clint Rissmann talked about the maps he helped create for the project. We looked at the mitigations being modelled to help reduce on farm GHG emissions. On top all of all this, we found time to film a short project video, and finished with a scrumptious BBQ. If you want to keep track of what the project is up to, follow the Carbon Neutral Dipton Facebook page, where you can sign up for the Carbon Neutral Dipton newsletter. View the latest newsletter here.

Targeted Solutions to Balfour’s Environmental Challenges Project nitrogen-loss field day

Mother Nature didn't play ball, but we breed them tough in the South.  What a great turnout to the first Targeted Solutions towards Balfour's Environmental Challenges Project field day. Dr Clint Rissmann from Land and Water Science was on hand to talk through the latest high resolution soil and landscape maps for the area, before heading out to view two very different soil pits to discuss both nitrate producing and nitrate removal areas of the "fan". Thanks to all those hardy folk who came along!

Water quality findings and Community Beach clean-up - Orepuki Catchment Group

5 June from 12pm to 3pm
Orepuki Fire Station

Starting at Orepuki Fire station, followed by Monkey Island beach. We'll be finishing up at the Orepuki Tavern.
Join us to hear from experts about the latest findings from the three-year water quality testing programme ACE has undertaken, including the six new water testing sites in the Orepuki catchment. We'll share information from Regional Council sources and eDNA sampling. And as a bonus let’s roll up our sleeves and have some fun with a quick beach clean-up and afternoon tea at the pub. Don't miss this chance to learn, participate and contribute to our catchment. Spot prizes and hot scones for your beach clean-up efforts, thanks to BNZ.

Mini Forest Movement Open Evenings - Mid Oreti Catchment Group

6 June, 4pm to 7pm (first Tuesday of every month)
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.

Winter Wellbeing Evening with guest speaker Wendy Frew

7 June, doors open 6.30pm
Mossburn Community Centre

  • Supper is provided and raffles are available

  • (Donation at the Door going to Southland Rural Support Trust)

Join the Between the Domes Catchment Group at this winter wellbeing event raising funds for Southland Rural Support Trust. Hear from proud Southlander and former Southern Steel captain and Silver Fern, Wendy Frew.

For more information and to RSVP please contact Peter Sim on 027 487 5115, Angela Reid on 027 423 7934 and Alex Field on 027 211 8630.

Stream Health Field Day & Water Quality Chat - Lower Oreti Catchment Group

15 June, from 12.30pm to 2.30pm
Stream site near Wrights Bush Rugby Club (TBC)
Supported by Environment Southland and DairyNZ.
Come and learn about our local water quality, and how you can use two simple ways to work how healthy your streams and waterways are. Stream site will be near the Wrights Bush Rugby Club (TBC), and we will return there afterwards for our water quality chat with a hot drink and a snack.

For more information contact Georgie Galloway on 0220 432 770, or
Sarah Thorne, Catchment Coordinator, on or
027 588 520.

ACE’ing IT

16 June
ACE’s three-year community project wraps up this June, come Celebrate, Connect, and Learn with ACE and the Aparima rural community. We have two sessions for the day and we’d you to be at both or feel free to join us for one or the other.

Afternoon session  |  Learn
Meet at the Crib Cafe, 135 Palmerston Street, Riverton
We'll be learning about estuary function and health with locals and experts, including a coastal scientist.

Evening session  |  Celebrate & Connect
Otautau Connect Centre, 134 Main Street, Otautau

  • 6pm: Canapes and chat

  • 7pm: Presentations and video

  • 8pm: Tea, coffee & cake

Join us for an exciting evening filled with networking, knowledge and fun as we share the Aparima Catchment Group's and ACE’s community project.

Details can be found here
To keep up to date with details, feel free to follow the event on our Facebook page or at

Wetlands Field Day - Waihopai Catchment Group

20 June, Venue/Time - TBC
Pop in your diary to save the date!

Wintering Field Day - Lower Oreti Catchment Group

12 July, time TBC
AB Lime (Browns) and Cam & Christina Nelson’s deer wintering barn (Lochiel)

Come and hear about how Year 3 of the AB Lime Composting Wintering Barn journey is going, and look at options for wintering deer at Cam & Christina Nelson’s place. More information to come.

Have a great June,
Ngā mihi
Richard Kyte (Thriving Southland Project Lead) and the Thriving Southland Team


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