November 2023 Thriving Southland Newsletter

Welcome to our November newsletter!

It's hard to believe it’s already November. Hopefully people are coming out the other side of lambing and calving with a smile on their faces.
Catchment Groups are already putting the thinking caps on for next year’s events and we are seeing them picking up where they left off and looking into areas including landscape mapping and pest control, amongst others.
October felt like the ultimate awards month and a huge congratulations to those Groups and individuals who were finalists and winners in recent awards ceremonies - more on that below!
We’re delighted to be able to share with you an independent evaluation report around the work Thriving Southland has been able to achieve in the past year with the amazing support of the entire Catchment Group community.
The report reflects on the partnerships developed with the 35 Catchment Groups around the region and includes some fabulous feedback from the people who really matter — you!
It notes that the work is challenging, and environmental outcomes will take time, and that implementing new farming practices at a catchment level change also takes a lot of energy and cooperation.
It’s great to see clear evidence of farmers’ increased confidence using the science with a clear message coming through around continued need for consistent and long-term support for Catchment Groups to implement better farming practices.
More on that below - and let’s hope for some decent BBQ weather through November!
Don’t forget the amazing Thriving Southland Associate Director Board opportunity. 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
And finally, we’d love to see you at the Thriving Southland AGM on 15 November from 1.30pm to 3.30pm at the Winton Salvation Army Hall. We’ve got an amazing keynote speaker, Mike Casey from Forest Lodge Orchard. Mike believes his farm 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. Well worth listening to! RSVP to 

Southland Catchment Groups and farmers hit it big at awards

Greater Dipton and Hedgehope Makarewa Catchment had an amazing evening on the 19 October. After a very busy few years with some big projects that were really important to their Catchment Groups and communities, both Groups decided to go in for the Environment Southland Community Awards. 

And….success! Hedgehope Makarewa won the Environmental Improvement in Water Quality Award for their great work on helping locals better understand their catchment and what’s beneath their feet, and their work on Southland based winter crop cultivation trials.

Gary McStay and Tim Campbell representing the Hedgehope Makarewa Catchment Group

Greater Dipton were a finalist in the Environmental Leadership in Farming Award for their Carbon Neutral Dipton Project exploring different ways to reduce GHG emissions on farms – sharing information, starting conversations and starting people on their journey to reduce GHG emissions and work towards becoming Carbon Neutral Dipton. Huge congratulations to the Stewart Family (Glenrannoch Farm) who won this award and are members of the Greater Dipton Catchment Group and are a case study farm in the Carbon Neutral Dipton Project.

The Greater Dipton Catchment Group crew

Greater Dipton were also a finalist (on the same evening) in the 2023 B+LNZ FMG Rural Champion Award, for all the work they do to look after the wellbeing of farmers and farming communities in their special part of the Southland. They were up against some amazing organisations – Surfing for farmers and Shepherdess, and although they didn’t win the award on the night, it was fantastic to get the recognition of their work and experience a B+LNZ Award evening.
Congratulations to all the finalists in these awards. We are really proud of Southlands Catchment Groups and the amazing work that they do, and love helping you celebrate all your effort and work. Your Catchment Coordinator can help you enter awards, so let them know if you are keen!

Thriving Southland inspiring and motivating farmers – new report

Thriving Southland is in a unique position to bring together farmers from different sectors —who are working collaboratively within catchments to implement change.
That’s one of the conclusions in an independent evaluation report by Pragmatica Ltd titled: ‘Thriving Southland: Inspiring community action.’
In the report, authors Kellie Spee and Judy Oakden note that farmers are driving much of the focus and desired activity, and that many are making changes to their farms to reduce their environmental footprint.
“We conclude that this initiative is starting to bring value to the region – and we recommend that funders continue to invest in it.
Thriving Southland works in partnership with the 35 Catchment Groups around the region, the report says.
“The team inspires and motivates, providing a positive buffer and sharing positive farming stories.”
It goes on to say there will be a continued need for Thriving Southland as the culture, climate and environment change to support farmers’ work through the different trade-offs and implement change.
There were 33 new projects worth $271,897 started between May 2022 and May 2023, the report says.
It notes that the work is challenging, and environmental outcomes may take 10 to 20 years to realise. Implementing new farming practices at a catchment level change takes time, energy and cooperation.
“There is a continuing need for consistent and long-term support for Catchment Groups to implement better farming practices,” the report says.
In 2022-2023 there is clear evidence of farmers’ increased confidence with the science.
“They better understand different scenarios and trade-offs to support future farming. Access to science supports solution-based conversations and collective action among Catchment Group members.”
One farmer told the authors: “I now have more understanding… about our environmental impacts [of] the stream that runs through  our farm … and more understanding of regulations that are coming in and where to look for information and support.”
There is good knowledge transfer, and farmers are open to learning how to improve farming practices.

Relationships and understanding between farmers, Catchment Groups, external stakeholders, and partners, including Māori, are developing.
A summary and the full report can be found here.

Makarewa Headwaters Revival Project – Feral animals in the Hokonuis

The Makarewa Headwaters Catchment Group have recently completed a three-month project to understand the state of feral animals in their area. A recent landowner survey gave some incredible insights into the situation and coupled with helicopter surveillance and analytics into what the feral animals are costing landowners, the environment and contributing to GHG… it’s sobering.
Join the Group on Thursday 9 November, from 3pm to 6pm at the Otapiri and Lora Gorge Centennial Hall to learn about the findings of the project, take part in a panel Q&A, and enjoy a taste of some delicious wild meats kindly donated by Fare Game Meats and cooked by local chef and Otapiri Gorge farmer, Brett Frew.

RSVP to by Friday 3 November.

Thriving Southland Christmas competition

Grow More | Grow Smarter Field Day - Three Rivers Catchment Group

In mid-October the Three Rivers Catchment Group hosted the ‘Grow More, Grow Smarter’ field day at Jon and Birgit Pemberton's farm to share their experience of using radiometric surveying to enable variable rate fertiliser spreading.
During the event, we delved into the Pemberton's journey, partnering with Land & Water Science, Livestock Supplies and Herberts Transport.
Land & Water Science specialises in combining science and technology to gain an understanding of the landscape. To support the Pembertons, they utilised a radiometric sensor which measures natural gamma radiation emitted from the earth to obtain data relevant for soil type and soil chemistry. From this data they were able to produce a new, more accurate soil map, and utilise traditional soil test data to produce a zone map that translates to variable rate fertiliser application.  
The data and maps were shared with Andrew Collie of Livestock Supplies, who is the nutrient advisor to Jon and Birgit. Andrew was able to apply his expertise and adjust fertiliser product type and amount recommendations to align with the new zone map.
The zone map and fertiliser recommendation was transferred into Tabula (previously Tracmap)-enabled spreading equipment for paddock application.

Herberts Transport's support has also proven to be a game-changer for the Pembertons, enabling them to implement the data driven maps, leading to his reduced fert bill! Their new cutting-edge variable rate fertiliser spreader was on display at the field day and really wowed the crowd.

Mid Oreti Spring Meeting and native plant monthly working bee

Great spring meeting with new, past and current members. 
We heard about the successful 2023 Westpac Watercare Project funding for plants and plant protectors for our Mini Forest Movement Project, and our new Mid Oreti Wetlands and Runoff Detainment Bund Project (Marshalling the Best!) that has just had funding approved through Thriving Southland.  
Applications opened up for the next round of plant grants for the Mini Forest project, closing 31 October.  The Group are happy to donate plants to projects run by local schools and local community groups, along with the workforce to help plant the plants this November or next autumn.
If you live in the Mid Oreti Catchment Group area and have a project that you would love some native plants for, please consider this offer and get in touch.

The evenings are getting lighter and warmer for our monthly native plant nursery working bees on the first Tuesday of every month from 4 to 7pm at the AB Lime Nursery.  This month we did some weeding, potting up and cuttings. The Group are happy to also run sessions at different times if you have a Group that are keen. Just contact Ainsley on 02041132212 or

Understanding your landscape to drive change workshop

The Hedgehope Makarewa Catchment group facilitated their final ‘Maps into Action’ event, with help from the Land and Water Science team. The event supported landowners to learn more about their local landscape and how this interacts with a farm system to ultimately affect water quality.

It was a follow on from the large Understanding our Landscape project which mapped the landscape of the Makarewa catchment to create landscape susceptibility maps. Extensive research was required to create the maps, which allow landusers to study their own property and better understand which parts of their property are more or less susceptible to losses of different water contaminants including nitrate, sediment and nitrous oxide.

If you are interested in the research, or live in the wider Makarewa catchment (including its tributaries), have a look at the maps for yourself here.

Lower Oreti Catchment Group NAIT workshop well attended

Great evening with the Lower Oreti Catchment Group. They wanted to do something practical to help farming families across Southland, and pulled together this night after people told them they needed some tips and support with NAIT. Thriving Southland was really proud to support the Catchment Group with this event.
Attendees came with some great questions, answered by MPI NAIT & Animal Welfare, OSPRI, Datamars/Tru-test experts. Many thanks to Tamarah, Jenna and Martin for their excellent talks and all the different ways they helped make the event happen; Gail for the lovely catering; Deon for the excellent venue, and running the bar; Graham for the telephone tree, and Georgie for making it all happen.
Contact your Catchment Coordinator if you are keen to have one of these events in your area.

New River Estuary Forum Catch Up and Next Steps

Saturday 4 November, 10.30am to 12.30pm
Meeting room at the Invercargill Public Library

Come along to hear what’s been happening over the past year in our catchment (lots!). Hear about the findings of the Gateway Murihiku survey and people’s ideas on what they would like to see happen to our estuary, and discuss possible future projects and direction for the Group. 
If you are a member of a community group that currently have projects in or around the New River Estuary area and would like to give us an update of what you have been up to, please contact us on and we can build this into the meeting.  Each group will have a 5-minute slot to share and celebrate the great work you are all doing. All welcome to attend.

Where to next for ACE?

Monday 6 November from 7pm
Otautau Connect Centre

ACE has wrapped up its three-year community project and the Group is now looking to make some changes, adapt, grow and plan for the future. We're having an open-meeting and we would love to see some new farmer and rural community faces in the room.

Any questions and to RSVP please contact

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

Tuesday 7 November, from 4pm to 7pm
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.

Three Rivers Catchment Group AGM

Wednesday 8 November, from 7pm
Three Rivers Hotel
Join us for the Three Rivers Catchment Group AGM and, afterwards, join us as we look back on the year's accomplishments and discuss our vision for the future. Your presence and input are invaluable as we chart the course for the year ahead. Be part of the conversation and help shape our exciting activities for the upcoming year. It's going to be a relaxed and enjoyable evening. Let's catch up, share ideas, and get ready for an awesome year ahead. Don't miss out!

South Coast Catchment Group

Tuesday 7 November
Otara Hall

The South Coast Catchment Group are teaming up with the Land and Water Science to unlock the secrets of our beautiful South Coast Catchment. We'll be diving into understanding our landscape - rocks, erosion zones, soil types, and how water moves through the catchment. It's like putting together pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle, and each piece gets us closer to figuring out 'where to next' for our Group.

Makarewa Headwaters – Feral animal management community event

Thursday 9 November, from 3pm to 6pm
Otapiri and Lora Gorge Centennial Hall
Come and hear from the project’s consultants as they present their findings on feral animals in our catchment. Enjoy a Q&A with a panel of farmers and industry experts, and hear and share your thoughts on what the next stage of our project could look like.
Stay a little longer and enjoy a taste of some delicious wild meats kindly donated by Fare Game Meats and cooked by local chef and Otapiri Gorge farmer, Brett Frew.
RSVP to by Friday 3 November

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

Thriving Southland AGM

15 November from 1.30pm to 3.30pm
Winton Salvation Army Hall, 7 Dejoux Road, Winton

Join the Thriving Southland team at our Annual General Meeting. It’s a great place to network, hear about what’s happening across the region and listen to our keynote speaker, Mike Casey from Forest Lodge Orchard.


Three Rivers Catchment Group (Glenham, Mokoreta, Mimihau and those on the Edendale Terrace)

Tuesday 21 November
The Three Rivers Catchment Group are excited to invite all members of the Three Rivers Group to hear from Clint Rissmann, Land and Water Science, about understanding our landscape - rocks, erosion zones, soil types, and how water moves through the catchment.

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


This product has been added to your cart