November 2020 Newsletter

Welcome to your November newsletter - wow there’s been a lot happening!

Let’s not talk about the weather too much, but we hope everyone is drying out, getting some sun, and able to get on with all the jobs on their lists. Southland’s soils tend to be reasonably forgiving, but you’d be forgiven for feeling a bit irked after the latest down pour.

Plenty of Catchment Groups across Southland have been revving up their activity and our Catchment team have been busy supporting and enabling them to have meetings, field days and get projects up and running.
A couple of Catchment Groups have held freshwater policy discussion events to make sure their members are up to speed with the latest developments, and we’re happy to support these events.
Thank you to everyone who has taken time out of their busy lives to check out what Thriving Southland is all about. Our Catchment Coordinators are keeping the Thriving Southland Facebook page up to date - a big thank you to the 234 people who have liked it so far.
Southland is such an exciting place to be - with so much going on, and we’re delighted to be able to support the Catchment Groups’ efforts.

Moving to the Front Foot - with Melissa Clark-Reynolds

As world-class food producers we can do “artisan at scale” to take our food and farming stories and businesses to the next level.

That was the message from Melissa Clark-Reynolds, who was invited by Thriving Southland to meet and speak to over a hundred Southland Catchment Group leaders, stakeholders and farmers on 22 October between two events in Winton and Invercargill.

Melissa is a leading thinker around innovation in disruptive times, and focused on the future of food production and consumption.

She is the first non-farmer Director of NZB+L, and is a Professional Director with 25 years’ experience as a technology entrepreneur and CEO of a number of technology companies - many in the food sector. 

Gaining insight into future developments involved spotting signals or “bread crumbs” of trends early, and formulating plans to take advantage of opportunities or prepare for adversity, she said. 

At present, New Zealand has a “health halo” because of the perception we’ve sorted COVID-19 so well, and we need to capitalise on this, she said. 

Among the developing food trends was direct to consumer marketing and subscription models, where people sign up for the likes of meat deliveries on a fixed term or ongoing basis. 

Increasing demand for high value “artisan” products is a definite trend, Melissa said. “New Zealand can play artisan at scale,” she said. 

A big part of that was telling our farming stories well, and New Zealanders often tend to be too modest about what they do, she said.

 The farmer to consumer relationship was crucial and needs to be close. She urged us not to let others get the jump on us in terms of telling our producer stories. 

A panel discussion afterwards with four promiment Southland farmers centred on how to define “regenerative farming”, with the general consensus being that we’re largely doing it in New Zealand already.

Dipton meeting well attended

Dipton residents turned out in good numbers to discuss ideas around forming a new Catchment Group in the area. At a meeting at the Dipton Golf Club on 14 October, great ideas were collected to help the new Group form their vision, purpose, goals and values, and come up with their first few projects and topics to explore. 

Passionate locals bring in the numbers

Coffee meetings, a pinch of passion and an environmental solution are the recipe for a great field day turn out. 

Mid Oreti Catchment Group held its first field day at AB Lime on 8 October, brought together by three passionate locals. 

Planting tips and a first-hand look at a runoff detainment bund system were highlights of the day and one of the Group’s co-coordinators Rosie Forbes said they were stoked when more than 50 people turned up.

 “There was a real mixture of people from across the community, mostly interested in planting. There was good chatter afterwards about tips and tricks.”

Rosie, along with Ainslie Adams and Fiona Smith from AB Lime, got the ball rolling for the group late last year with an initial community meeting, then another in late March, which attracted a good turnout. 

The three of them are acting as co-coordinators but Rosie said the group’s organisation is pretty fluid, and people are welcome to come on board and help out. 

“It’s a good excuse for coffee catch-ups.” People from around the catchment, as well as from Dipton, Makarewa headwaters, and Waikaka Stream Catchment Groups came along to the field day, Rosie said. 

Those attending got to check out a runoff detainment bund, designed to slow the flow of water leaving the AB Lime’s dairy farm hill catchment, which reduces sediment and nutrient loss to waterways. 

The second part of the field day was an opportunity to learn about AB Lime’s plant nursery, where they have grown native plants from collected seeds.

The Groups’s membership is building and they are encouraging people to bring a friend along to meetings, Rosie said. 

“We’re trying to be positive and have a constructive approach to what we do,” she said. 

Rosie said it was great to get some help promoting the day from Thriving Southland, B+LNZ and DairyNZ. 

The Mid Oreti Catchment Group held another meeting in Winton on 14 October and a Winton Stream Ecological Health Field Day on 23 October, looking at how to look at your stream, and its bugs and fish, and what this can tell you about the health of your stream. 

You can check out what’s happening in their catchment on their Facebook page. Or check out upcoming events at

Project progress Between The Domes

The Group have been focusing on four large projects, with next steps including drafting a Catchment Plan to see how these projects can be implemented by the Group over the next three years.

  • Wetland and sediment trap creation
  • Mapping native plant corridors and planting
  • Recycling Bale Wrap - providing a crucial link in the chain
  • Soil Testing – nutrient awareness for accurate fertiliser use, reduced spend

Upcoming Events


Strong Catchment Groups, Strong Communities

Roger Dalrymple joins us to share his knowledge and experience of building Catchment Groups with strong purpose.

He shows how strong purpose builds stronger groups, better engagement, and successful and innovative projects. Roger is a passionate Catchment Group member in the Rangitikei catchment, farming through the Horizons Regional Council policy changes, so has some useful insights to share. Roger will be supported by local consultant Mo Topham. These events are open for everyone in the community to attend.

7.00pm | Tuesday 10th November | Tokanui Pub
Tokanui and Lower Mataura Catchment Groups

7.00pm | Thursday 12th November | Balfour Pub
Upper Mataura, Wendonside, Balfour and Between the Domes Catchment Groups

7.00pm | Wednesday 11th November | Waimumu Field Days Offices
Gore, Waikaka and Otamita Catchment Groups

Wendonside Slope Focus Field Day
1.30pm, McDonald Road, Wendonside

Waihopai Catchment Group 
1.00pm sharp, Woodlands Full Primary School
The children will give us a presentation of the work they’ve been doing in the classroom with regards to their Waihopai studies, followed by a trip down to the Waihopai stream to see their activities undertaken so far.

Hedgehope Makarewa Catchment Group Meeting
7.00pm, Jeanette Topham’s House
Looking at ideas for projects and events, and coming up  with a wee plan for the group.

Wyndam Wintering Field Day, hosted by the Three RIvers Catchment Group
10.30am - 1.30pm, Meeting at David Clarkes

Have you thought about your winter grazing options for 2021?
Join the Three Rivers Catchment Group in partnership with Thriving Southland, Beef+Lamb New Zealand and DairyNZ, for a Wintering Options Field day
Meeting at David Clarkes, McFadzien Road Glenham (will be signposted) then moving to the Glenham Hall for farmer introduced Farm Case Studies, information and a BBQ.
We have Roger Dalrymple, a passionate farmer / catchment group supporter from Rangitikei to speak to us, along with other local industry leaders in attendance.
Kevin Hall  027 471 7906  |  David Clarke  027 622 2325

Lunch under the willows - Dipton Community Catchment Group Meeting
11.00am - 1.00pm, Down by the river at Milligan Park in Dipton
Come and learn about the Dipton area and why it is special.  Two guest speakers - Andrew Watson – quick history of Dipton and the river, along with a speaker on local water quality from Environment Southland.   The event will be moved to the Dipton Golf Club in the event of bad weather. 

Phone Lynden Prebble (027 241 0868) or Frazer Brown (027 229 2879) with any queries.

There are more events happening all the time, so please keep an eye on our website or our Facebook page for changes to events, or new events in your area.

For the latest events info please click here

Highlights of Previous Events

An exciting glimpse at Winton Stream | 23 October
Mid Oreti Catchment Group had an amazing morning at the Winton Stream with Freshwater Ecologist Robin Holmes from Cawthron Institute. We learnt how to figure out how healthy the stream by looking at the macroinvertebrates and using the Rapid Habitat Assessment, and were very excited to find some good stream bugs and some long finned eels. 

A big thank you to Robin, B+LNZ and Thriving Southland for helping make this event happen.  Have a look at the Mid Oreti Catchment Group Facebook page for some great photos from the field day, and we hope to do more of these field days in the future.

Te Anau Freshwater Rules and Catchment Group Info Evening | 27 October
There was a great turnout in Te Anau for an evening of info, discussion and Q&A with an expert panel on the new freshwater rules, plus info from Southland farmers on Catchment Groups.

There were some hard-hitting questions and some clarifying answers provided by the expert panel. B+LNZ's Corina Jordan did an outstanding presentation, as did Kate Scott from Landpro Ltd, Fiona Young from Environment Southland, Tessa Schmidt from DairyNZ and Ewen Mathieson from the Pourakino Catchment Group. And we can't forget the 10/10 facilitation done by Te Anau local, Anna Kempthorne!

Field day and woolshed discussion on the new National Environmental Standards (NES) for Freshwater | 27 October
Makarewa Headwaters Catchment Group hosted this fabulous event looking at the practical aspects of the new legislation, possible on farm solutions, and covering questions from those attending. Corina Jordan, Environmental Strategy Manager for B+LNZ, who has extensive knowledge and experience on the Fresh Water National Policy Statement and potential implications, was on hand with the latest NES developments.

Many thanks to Mark & Elspeth Thomson for hosting the event on their farm, and to B+LNZ, BDL Productions for supporting the event.

Thriving Southland AGM | 27 October

We held our first AGM in October, including members of the Thriving Southland Board and team, as well as a few farmers. We're currently ratifying new Board positions and will be able to update you in the next newsletter.
Tomogalak and Upper Mataura BBQ | 29 October
Big thanks to Victoria Butterick and Hannah Blakely for putting on an awesome BBQ in the Old Deer Improvement Farm Woolshed at Ardlussa to kick off the (yet to be named) Tomogalak/Upper Mataura Catchment Group. Thanks to Lynden Prebble (Dipton) and Chris Giles (Gore) for giving the rundown on what their groups have been up to and some good tips for a successful Catchment Group!

Information Hub

Just a quick reminder to check out our information hub on the Thriving Southland website - with more than 150 relevant tools and resources. You can search by various criteria to find exactly what you need at a click of a button. Check out the information hub here.

Thanks for taking the time to read our newsletter. As you see, there is quite a bit going on and more to come. Keep an eye on our website for events close to you and new resources, tools and information targeted to you and your needs in Southland.

Nga mihi

Richard and Ewen

Ewen Mathieson (Thriving Southland Chairman)
Richard Kyte (Thriving Southland Project Lead)


This product has been added to your cart