December 2020 Newsletter

Catchment Groups busy as year winds down, or is that up?

As we race towards Christmas, everyone is in ‘get it done’ mode - and that’s been very true of our Catchment Groups in Southland.

It’s been great to see new faces coming to Catchment Group events, with a good cross- section of people from local communities. Recent events have been a fantastic for bringing people, often with different perspectives, together in a positive environment to discuss the challenges and opportunities in front of all of us.
We really appreciate people making time to come to Catchment Group events as we know how busy things are with ground prep going into overdrive as weather conditions have improved.
Thriving Southland was pleased to be able to bring Rangitikei farmer and Catchment Group leader Roger Dalrymple down south for events in Tokanui, Gore and Balfour during November. His presentations gave us valuable insights into the Catchment Group journey - the opportunities, and what to watch out for. At the core, his messages overwhelmingly reinforced why belonging to a Catchment Group is beneficial. Read on for an overview of Roger’s presentation.
If you haven’t managed to catch the fantastic interview from our very own Rachael on Sarah's Country you can check it out here. It was a great opportunity to talk about some of the ideas and actions happening within our Southland communities.
Over the last six months, we’ve been working hard to build awareness about what Thriving Southland can offer - so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our catchment coordinators.
As this is our last newsletter of the year - we’d like to wish everyone a safe and relaxing Christmas and all the best wishes for 2021!

Thriving Southland by numbers

10 Thriving Southland-organised events held in past three months focusing around encouraging and developing groups, getting projects off the ground and inspiring community action.
More than 50 meetings, get-togethers, planning sessions supported and/or attended in past three months.
Since July 2020, the Thriving Southland webpage has had 10,917 page views (7,410 unique page views).
311 Likes (72 new in past month) on Thriving Southland Facebook page - driving fantastic engagement with communities – with thousands of people reached with our posts and advertising.
There are big projects in the pipeline that we can’t wait to tell you about in 2021! 

Lessons from the Rangitikei - Strong Catchment Groups, Strong Communities

His main points included:
•    Catch up and get ahead of society’s expectations
•    Understand farm effects on our environment
•    Educate and enhance good management practices
•    Have tools (data) in the toolbox
•    We need other people to understand and tell our story - not just farmers
•    Connect and enrich our communities and farming businesses
•    Support each other through challenging times
•    Change the model from top down to bottom up 

Roger commented that it was important to work alongside local government to help make rural communities sustainable, vibrant and economically sustainable - and the bottom up Catchment Group model was the way to achieve that.
“Community Catchment Groups bring everyone together.”
Groups might start with farmers but they need to be inclusive of all users of a river, he said.
“There’s gotta be someone with a bit of oomph in each sub-catchment to get things going.”
Recording our footprint on the land was crucial to being able to frame a positive story about what we are doing, Roger said.
“It’s all about community and collaboration, not about setting grandiose goals. Get on the ladder and make a start.”
Storing data around the likes of critical source areas fenced and areas planted was crucial to being able to tell that story, he said.
“Then we start to have a story to tell. In 15-20 years from now we’ll be in a heck of a better place.”

What has Rangitikei River Catchment Collective achieved so far?

Of 700,000ha in the catchment, they have 14 sub-catchment groups covering 48% of total area. They have 43 water monitoring sites. A catchment co-ordinator. Ground rules meaning each member farm has an environmental plan and is subject to a 75c/ha levy (up to maximum of $1000).
“When we go to funders for support, we can show we’re putting our hand in our own pocket first,” Roger said.
Ensuring people’s mental health is in good nick is crucial, with Rangitikei every event includes a BBQ and a beer.
“With the speed of change and all the information flying around it’s far better doing it in a team than trying to do it on your own on your farm.”
The Rangitikei collective is now working on forming an accord with local iwi, and the regional and district councils in the area.
After Roger’s presentations, Catchment Group members brainstormed ideas and took away one action for their respective Groups to work on.

Catchment Group Profile - Gore Catchment Group

The Group started in early 2019 and has grown to have about 100 followers on its Facebook page. During the past 18 months they’ve been busy sharing local history, stream studies, water testing, a wintering event, stalls at the Gore Children’s Day Out and at the Waimumu Field Days, events around the Mataura River and several farm visits from local schools. Check out their Facebook page for more about what this amazing group is all about.

Pupils from Te Tipua School visited Waimumu Downs in late October, a field trip organised by the Giles Whanau, Hokonui Runanga & Environment Southland. (Photo: Te Tipua School)

Upcoming Events

Surfing for Farmers

Surfing for Farmers will be holding events at Riverton or Colac Bay (depending on the weather) and are inviting all farmers to have a go, starting on December 10. The Southland Surf School, owned by former New Zealand women’s surf champion, Jess Terrill, will provide coaching and supervision for Surfing for Farmers. Thriving Southland is proud to be a co-funder of the initiative - more details here: 


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

Oreti Catchment Groups compare notes 

What a fabulous turnout in November for our first get together of the Oreti Catchment Groups.  More than 20 people representing Between The Domes Catchment Group Dipton Catchment Group, Makarewa Headwaters Catchment Group, Mid Oreti Catchment Group, Hedgehope Makarewa Catchment Group, Waihopai River Catchment Group and the soon to be formed Lower Oreti Catchment Group enjoyed a lovely meal at the Winton Top Pub. 

They were joined by representatives from the New River Estuary Forum and Rotary. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet new people and chat about what our groups are doing, and hopefully it is the start of something wonderful.


Under the Willows

It was a gorgeous day for the Dipton Community Catchment Group's Lunch under the Willows on November 25. Huge thanks to the wonderful speakers - Andrew Watson and Ange English held us spellbound with the history of Dipton, and Nick and Alex from Environment Southland gave us a crash course in local water quality and what it all means. There were lots of questions for all the speakers, and a BBQ lunch organised by the Dipton Social Committee, with meat donated by Alliance. A BIG thank you goes out to all these people and organisations.


Inspirational day on the lower Aparima

Where there is a threat, there is an opportunity - this was just some of the messaging from Doug Avery, Resilient Farmer in November when he attended an inspirational day put on thanks to Leo from DairyNZ alongside some of the local Lower Aparima Catchment Group members. We also enjoyed hearing the Templeton family share their Flaxmill and land-use change story and what the future holds for them. Let's not just bounce back, let's bounce forward!


Slope Focus at field day

Wendonside Catchment Group nailed it with their Slope Focus Field Day in November. They looked at an ideal site to put in a sediment trap to capture erosion from a new track on a dairy farm. Headed to a hill country sheep and beef farm to discuss cultivation, grazing management, overland flow, low tillage and consents. The day was rounded off at the woolshed for a BBQ and a refreshment. Big thanks to Sam Dixon and David Moat from Environment Southland and Jim Risk from Ballance Agri-Nutrients for sharing some of their endless knowledge.


Learning all about the Lora and Otapiri Gorges

Makarewa Headwaters Catchment Group members met last month for a presentation on water quality and ecosystem health, and how we impact them. A huge thank you to Justin Kitto (one of DairyNZ's Water Quality Specialists), for coming along. We learned loads about the water quality of the Lora Gorge and Otapiri Gorge areas, and asked Justin so many questions that his talk went for almost two hours! A great evening.


Woodlands School students showcase outdoor learning area

Waihopai River Catchment Group had a great visit to the Woodlands School Outdoor Learning Area with Year 4 to 8 students from Woodlands School. They told us about the work they have been doing building benches, insect hotels, an education shed and a lizard lounge and viewing area, as well as creating frog ponds, planting riparian plants, doing pest control, and studying their waterway and its water quality. We heard about their future ideas and plans, and the Catchment Group would love to work with them in the future.

Our office will be closed from 25 December to 4 January.  If you need to get in touch with us during this time, contact Richard Kyte on 027 298 7786.
Have a great Christmas and watch out for our next newsletter in February!

Nga mihi

Richard and Ewen

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


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