February 2024 Thriving Southland Newsletter

Welcome to our first newsletter for 2024!

We hope you have had time for a good break during the Christmas and New Year period, and are feeling recharged, ready for a great year ahead - and everything that might come our way.

As we kick into 2024, we're buzzing with excitement for what lies ahead with the Southland Catchment Groups!

We're enjoying a summer packed with community camaraderie, environmental stewardship, and plenty of good vibes.

We’ve got a newsletter packed with all the latest goings on, including all the fun from the annual Christmas competition, info about our recently commissioned succession planning report, a snapshot of eDNA happenings around the region and everything you need to know about Thriving Southland at the eagerly anticipated Southern Field Days coming up this month!

Another great year for the annual rural Christmas competition

Our annual competition was another Christmas cracker - and it was made possible and ever more exciting thanks to the fantastic local Southland businesses that support it! 
2023 saw the return of previous entrants and many more new to the competition. We saw farmers, friends and families create Christmas masterpieces, spreading joy across the region. 
CONGRATULATIONS to Bristol Grove Dairies Ltd who are the major prize winners for the 2023 Christmas Competition.
The entries this year have been outstanding but the Hanning family pulled this fabulous Nutcracker entry out of the bag. Donated by Mainland Minerals Southern, they won a customized Fine Particle Fertiliser Spread Valued at $3000.

RUNNER UP: Land and Water Science prize valued at $2000 won by the Ashmore Family!

THIRD PRIZE: AB Lime's 20 tonne Lime voucher has been won by the Baldwin family!

A huge shoutout and thank you to Mainland Minerals Southern, Land and Water Science and AB Lime for their generous sponsorship.
CONGRATULATIONS to the Highly Commended and Spot prize winners - who all took home some top class prizes.
And finally a huge thanks to the following businesses for their fabulous support and sponsorship: Southland Farm Machinery  ❘  Invercargill and Gore Uppercuts Butchery  ❘  Four Square Lumsden  ❘  Wilderlab  ❘  Southland Business Chamber  ❘  AgResearch  ❘  FMG  ❘  Ethan Flack Limited  ❘  Plants South  ❘  E Hayes & Sons Ltd - Invercargill  ❘  Inders Marineland

Thriving Southland making headlines

Check out our very own Richard Kyte chatting to Irrigation New Zealand Inc about our southern Catchment Groups - see pages 32-33 - read more here.

Come see us at the Southern Field Days

The magnificent Southern Field Days are on from 14-16 February at Waimumu. We’ll be there talking everything Catchment Group related, you’ll find us in the Agri Centre, stand A188.

Come have a chat, a cuppa, and rest the feet! Check out the Field Days website here.

Navigating the challenges of intergenerational farm succession?

The NZIER 2023 Study for Thriving Southland unpacks the factors that pave the way for a positive family farm succession journey.
From communication strategies to financial viability, explore the insights at and check out the summary and full report.

Wilderlab snapshot of eDNA exploration across Southland

How cool is this! Wilderlab has shared with us a snapshot of our collaborative efforts around the expansion of eDNA exploration across our beautiful landscapes. They've distilled some noteworthy highlights into an infographic, showcasing key statistics from the samples submitted by Thriving Southland (plus extra samples by Catchment Groups) to us over the past year.
The Thriving Southland team ventured into 31 different locations collecting samples. Through eDNA analysis, we unveiled an astonishing tapestry of life, identifying a whopping 707 unique species from an impressive 15,514 eDNA sequences.
We're eager to hear your experiences, whether they involve unexpected species discoveries, or the challenges faced during sampling adventures. Your narratives breathe life into the data, enriching the fascinating world of eDNA.

Reimagining a low emissions future for Murihiku Southland: workshops

NZAGRC are calling for more people to join their March workshop to explore different scenarios for a low emissions future in Southland.  This is your chance to provide your input, network with other farmers and growers, test different scenarios and have your voice presented to decision-makers in this space.

Invercargill – 4 March
Gore – 5 March 
Lumsden – 6 March
Otautau – 7 March
Winton – 8 March

Costs are covered by the NZAGRC: New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, and morning tea and lunch are provided.
Register your interest now at Don't miss this opportunity to make a difference and share your thoughts on a crucial topic.

For further questions reach out to
Attn: Courtney Stone 07 349 1212

Catchment Group Forum a great way to end the year

Towards the end of last year, we had a fantastic Catchment Group Forum that brought together representatives from most of Southland Catchment Groups.
The Forum provides an excellent platform for people involved in groups to forge connections, exchange valuable insights, and foster relationships for potential collaborations. It was a space filled with shared learnings, innovative ideas, and the development of meaningful connections.
Chef Ethan Flack Limited shared his inspiring story and express his pride in Southland's exceptional produce. His enthusiasm highlighted the incredible opportunities that abound in our region.
The Makarewa Headwaters Catchment Group, the host catchment, shared insights into their ongoing project, adding another layer of depth to our collective understanding.
We're truly fortunate to be surrounded by such passionate individuals and to have the chance to celebrate Southland's abundant opportunities together. Here's to more collaborative endeavours in the Thriving Southland community!

Mid Oreti Catchment Group – Grow Your Own Natives Seed Collection and Sowing Workshop

Wednesday 7 February, from 4pm (onwards) until 7pm
AB Lime Office Carpark, 10 Bend Road, Winton

ACE Monthly Meeting

Tuesday, 20 February, from 7pm to 8.30pm
Aparima farmers and community welcome.

For more information and to register your attendance please contact Rachael Halder on 021 566229 or

Mid Oreti Catchment Group Annual Group Get Together

Top Pub Lounge Bar, Winton
21 February, from 6pm to 7pm

Come along and share your ideas on how the Mid Oreti Catchment Group could work in 2024 to improve our local environment. Update on x2 outgoing funded projects. We would love more project volunteers - if this sounds like you, pop along! All welcome!

Cherries & Hops!

Keen for an adventure up country? Join us on a full day trip to visit New Zealand Zero (NZ0) Cherry Orchard – Mike Casey, Forest Lodge and the team at Garston Hops.

This field day includes transportation to and from the Orchard/Farm, departing from Lorneville via Winton. Alternatively, you can meet us directly at the destination.

Packed lunch will be provided, and we’ll make a quick couple of stops along the way to stretch the legs and get a cuppa if wanted.

The day is about learning, engaging, Q&A, and collaborating on ideas and projects for Southland. This day is open to anyone who would like to come along.

For additional information and to RSVP, reach out to your local Catchment Coordinator or contact the office at

There are limited spots and a bit of logistics involved so it’s important you RSVP by 23rd Feb.

This is an awesome opportunity for all to explore something close to home and alittle different.

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


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