October 2023 Thriving Southland Newsletter

Welcome to our October Newsletter!

It’s been a relatively quiet time on the Catchment Group events front with calving and lambing front of mind, but as we race towards the end of the year, there’s plenty of events, competitions and get-togethers in the pipeline.
Reflecting on the past month and the impact of the wet, windy, and wild weather, September has certainly been a challenging. It's added pressure at an already busy time on the farm. It’s important to remember to reach out and check in with friends and neighbours,” A problem shared is a problem halved”.

If you find yourself in need of support, please don't hesitate to reach out to your Catchment Group Coordinator or the Rural Support Trust (call 0800 787 254).

It’s great to see new projects being started by Catchment Groups, for example the Glenham Catchment Group looking into the cracked willows issue.
There’s a fantastic QEII Trust planting day at Kowhai Reach coming up in late October and in November the Southland Ecological Restoration Network bus trip will see the Oreti Catchment Groups sharing their biodiversity restoration projects as part of the lunchtime speakers crew - check out the details in the upcoming events section.

We have our AGM coming up on 15 November, 1.30pm to 3.30pm at the Winton Salvation Army Hall, 7 Dejoux Road, Winton. We have a great keynote coming along, Mike Casey. All welcome.

Mike is a former tech founder who entered into the primary industry in NZ only a few years ago, to try and bring better technology to the New Zealand farming community. He believes that his cherry orchard, Forest Lodge, is the world's first 100% electric farm, a cherry orchard in Central Otago that he has shown 1000s of farmers in the last 12 months.

The savings on energy when you electrify all the machines on farm and generate your own power from your shed roof is actually quite staggering, this has lead Mike to become the CEO of Rewiring Aotearoa, a charity organisation which is all about electrifying New Zealand as fast as possible so that we can drive economic productivity and growth as well as lowering emissions.

Tōtara Report out now

Thriving Southland with MBIE, Agri Intel and Te Tapu o Tane has just released a rural landowners guide to Capturing the Value fo Carbon Sequestration for Tōtara Forests.
Tōtara is a large, long-lived evergreen podocarp tree that is indigenous to New Zealand that can grow up to 30m high. Tōtara holds immense cultural significance for Māori and is considered a taonga (treasure) and has been traditionally used for various purposes, including building canoes, houses, and carvings.Its durability and resistance to decay made it highly sought-after for construction, fencing, and railway sleepers in years’s past, and it still maintains significant value as a timber product today. This guide gives you information on how you can generate significant on-farm benefits by including Tōtara plantings.
Read the Guide here

Shout out to Clare

We’re extremely proud that our very own Catchment Group Coordinator, Clare Officer, was recognised this month as a 2023 Rural Champion. We’ve always known she was a superstar and great to see her amongst so many rural champions, past and present Board members and Catchment Group members, being recognised for their hard work and commitment for Southland.

Christmas competition coming soon

We don't like to use the 'C' word... but it’s getting closer. The annual Christmas Competition is on the horizon! Get your thinking caps on for this year's sculptures.

Have we got an opportunity for you – why not become the next Thriving Southland Associate director?

The Board of Thriving Southland is seeking applications for an Associate Board member. This appointment is for 12 months starting November 2023 and finishing in November 2024.

This appointment is for 12 months starting November 2023 and finishing in November 2024.

You can find out more about the role and how to apply here.

Environment Southland Climate Change Survey open now!

What are your thoughts on climate change and its impacts on Murihiku Southland?
Our region, over time, is likely to experience warmer weather all year round, and high levels of rainfall during winter and spring. We also expect to see an increase in coastal flooding events. We want to know how it is already affecting you and what your concerns for the future are.The survey only takes 5-10 minutes, and all responses are confidential. Environment Southland will use your answers to help shape their climate change work programmes. Have your say by 16 October and go into the draw for one of 10 x $50 Prezzy Cards.

Glenham Catchment Group cracked willows project day

About 15 people attended the recent project day to create a plan to help the Catchment Group stop the spread of Crack Willows before they get too bad. We heard from Geoff Baldwin, a farmer in the Pourakino Willow Eradication Project, about what they’ve learned. And big thanks to Environment Southland who offered great support, including possibly flying the streams with drones and walking the stream and GPSing hotspot areas of willows.
Crack Willows are a double-edged sword, on the one hand - they can be useful to limit erosion, and can create good habitats for fish life, however, they can replace native vegetation and cause issues when they fall and end up downstream.
Check out some useful resources here.

Waikawa Catchment Group Integrated Catchment Management Plan get-together

The Waikawa Catchment Group got the inside scoop on Certified Freshwater Farm Plans from Environment Southland and Intergrated catchment management plans with and Lloyd McCall, a fellow farmer and Otago Councillor, who shared inspiring words about how we can all come together as a community to create an Action Plan tailored for our Waikawa Community.
About 30 farmers attended and it’s fair to say the farmers in the catchment were worried about how the plan was going to be used, and this event helped to get the right people in the room to answer their questions. It felt like that farmers that attended were comfortable with the outcomes and to work with Environment Southland to create the Waikawa Catchment context. 
Our catchment is unique, and now, armed with knowledge and passion, we're all set to protect our pristine Waikawa River. To find out more about the Waikawa Catchment Group, click here.

The Mid Oreti Mini Forest Movement

This movement began in Autumn 2022, thanks to AB Lime who donated 1000 native plants that went to five projects (2 community and 3 private landowners). We helped plan and plant the sites, and landowners paid $1/plant to fund our future plants. We did two community seed collections and sowed these out in seed trays.
Starting in early 2023 we meet monthly (open invite) to sow more, pot up, weed, and maintain our plants. These sessions are a great way for people to learn, help us, and share tips and tricks. Plants will be ready in Autumn 2024 for more projects. This project has really ramped up thanks to the Westpac and Landcare funding; we were granted $10,000 for plants, protectors, and planting gear.

Mid Oreti Catchment Group - Mini Forest Movement Native Plant Nursery drop-in session (first Tuesday of every month)

Tuesday 3 October, from 4pm to 6pm
AB Lime Nursery, 10 Bend Road, Winton

All welcome to come to our monthly native plant growing working-bee evenings at the AB Lime Nursery. Your help will go toward growing plants for the Mid Oreti Mini Forest Movement Project, which provides 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 like.

Lower Aparima Catchment Group meeting

Monday 9 October, from 7pm
Riverton Senior Citizen Rooms 

All are welcome. We’ll be covering:

  • The new online resource ACE has created 'ACE at a glance' (

  • Lower Aparima Catchment Groups future involvement with the wider ACE group, direction and prorities for ACE. 

  • The new wetland prioritisation map project for the Lower Aparima catchment, starting this Spring 

  • And more

If you have questions or queries, please contact Simon on 027 201 0377 or John on 027 202 3945.

Hedgehope Makarewa Catchment Group – Maps into Action interactive sessions

10 October, from 10.30am to 1pm  
Salvation Army Hall on Dejoux Road, Winton

Building on the successful ‘Understanding Our Landscape’ field day, held at the Miller's property in March, this session will show you how to access and use state of the art landscape susceptibility and slope maps for your property.

This session will provide valuable information that can be used in your Farm Environment Plan if you live in the Hedgehope Makarewa and Makarewa Headwaters Catchment Group areas and the eastern parts of Mid Oreti. Limited spaces, please RSVP to Mo Topham on 027 279 7449.

Orauea Hill Country Erosion project and workshop with Environment Southland

Wednesday 11 October, from 12:30pm to 3pm
Orawia Community Centre

Everyone welcome and lunch is provided.

Jon + Brigit Pemberton - Putting science in the hands of farmers (Three Rivers Catchment Group)

Thursday 12 October, from 11am to 2pm
507 Pioneer Highway, Brydone (on Gibson Road)

Hear how the use of targeted science (radiometric data) on Jon and Brigit Pemberton’s farm has given them significant savings in fertiliser use and spend. Also hear from Dr. Clint Rissmann about radiometric data and what is behind the science. We’ll be taking a look at how this data is powering Herberts Transport’s modern fertiliser spreading equipment for variable rate application, and hear from Livestock Supplies about embracing the science to get better outcomes on-farm.

Lower Oreti Catchment Group Presents - Understand NAIT traceability

17 October, from 7pm to 9pm
Waianiwa Hall - Waianiwa community club side room

Lower Oreti Catchment Group presents the ‘Understand NAIT traceability, animal welfare and how to protect your Primary Industry’ event. The event is supported by MPI NAIT & Animal Welfare, OSPRI, Tru-Test and Thriving Southland.
Come along to hear expert support and tips from industry professionals and to get your questions answered. All welcome - cash bar available and snacks provided.
For more information call Georgie Galloway on 022 043 2770.

QEII Trust planting day at Kowhai Reach

27 October, from 10am to 1pm
Chris and Charleen Withy's farm, 134 Bemore-Kauana Road

The QEII Trust have 600 plants to plant along Kowhai Reach. This is a rare ecosystem protected for over 40 years by local farmers, so please tell all your friends to come along to help plant.
You will need to bring your own spade, work gloves and wear practical clothing and sensible shoes for the weather and activity. Also bring personal gear you may need such as any medicine, water bottle, sunhat, snacks/packed lunch. Please do not bring dogs, and if you bring your children, please supervise at all times as we will be on a working farm with the usual hazards, plus we’re planting along a steep-sided streambank.
Please RSVP to Jesse Bythell (Southland QEII rep) on 020 400 32109 or, or Tess Miller on 021 400 431 or Sarah Thorne on
027 588 5200.

Southland Ecological Restoration Network (SERN) bus trip

11 November, from 9am
Departing from Feldwick Gates, Invercargill

SERN are organising another AMAZING bus trip in November and some of our Oreti Catchment Groups are sharing their biodiversity restoration projects as part of the lunchtime speakers crew. SERN is the Southland Ecological Restoration Network and is all about promoting Southland ecological restoration projects, and providing a network for community groups, volunteers and organisations.
To book your spot on the bus, please RSVP to Edith Jones 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 October,
Ngā mihi
Richard Kyte (Thriving Southland Project Lead) and the Thriving Southland Team


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