November 2021 Thriving Southland Newsletter

​Welcome to our November newsletter!

There’s a real energy coming from Catchment Groups getting back into projects and working with their communities after a busy and challenging spring in Southland.

At the Spring Catchment Group Forum in October we had 21 Groups represented and it was a great opportunity to catch up, find out what each Group is working on, build relationships, and share ideas. It’s exciting to see how highly engaged and motivated Groups are to achieve their goals.
It was great from Thriving Southland’s perspective to hear what’s on peoples’ minds and where they’re wanting to go. Read more on the forum below.

One of the most satisfying bits of feedback last month was from someone not from a rural background who came away from a Catchment Group meeting feeling proud of what Groups are achieving and planning.
The primary industries have been doing a great job of keeping New Zealand going during Covid-19.
Several farm-gate Covid-19 vaccination initiatives are planned in the south, and we’re supportive of these as it’s crucial to do everything we can to keep everyone fit and healthy.
The profile of Catchment Groups is rising and they are becoming more integrated into the fabric of rural New Zealand and primary sector leadership.
On that note, check out the details below for the upcoming strategy and leadership workshops, which will be an amazing chance to build capacity in rural communities. Rural leadership - with people able to advocate for themselves and their communities - is crucial to achieving the goals groups are setting themselves.

It was incredible to welcome Wayne Langford to Southland in October - and the YOLO farmer’s key messages around not being afraid to open the gates and show people what we’re doing, and innovation on farm, were well received - read more about his journey below.
We’d love you to come along to the Thriving Southland AGM on 10 November - details in the future events section below.
We’ve also just released the Murihiku water report, which is designed to explain environmental policy pathways in a digestible manner. More on that below.

Catchment Group Profile


Number of members in the Catchment Group
Otamita Catchment Group is a new Group currently working towards building relationships and engagement with the town as part of their future plans. 
Date the Group started
The Otamita Catchment Group is relatively new, having started in 2020.
Types of people in the group 
Majority sheep and beef, with one dairy and one cropping property.
E. coli testing day, including a brainstorming workshop completed.
Planning nutrient trap/sediment pond catchment-wide planning project.
The Group has held two on-farm events this year, an E. coli testing day and an introduction day to MCI and stream habitat assessment workshop. 
The Group has also hosted Lloyd McCall from the Pomahaka Group to talk about their progress and intentions. This was well supported by all the community.
Best way to contact for new members
Group Chair Cameron Grant
027 220 3605

Murihiku Southland Water Quality Planning Process Report

The purpose of this report is to provide some brief background to current freshwater planning processes and the longer term implications of changes to the Southland Water and Land Plan.  Specifically, this report endeavours to:

  • Outline the process that Environment Southland and Te Ao Mārama Inc are following to develop a regional plan change, focussing on river, lake, groundwater and estuary health.
  • The likely implications for rural land use.
  • Identify measures that could be taken now to help improve freshwater and estuary health and to prepare for future initiatives to improve these.
  • Summarise potential opportunities to provide input into the proposed plan change process.

The report is available here.

Leadership and Strategy workshops

Have we got an opportunity for you! 

Fully funded strategy and leadership workshops for anyone interested in building their skills and ability to think and trust to thrive. The workshops will arm you with the tools to develop your strategic leadership capability and give you the opportunity to play a role in shaping Southland’s future. 

Did we mention it’s fully funded so free for you? – and delivered by the New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust NZ Rural Leaders who also deliver New Zealand’s two foremost rural leadership programmes; the Nuffield NZ Farming Scholarships and the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme. They passionately believe in the power of leadership to determine the type of world future generations will inherit. 

Are you a future-shaper?

  • Do you have a desire to develop your strategic leadership skills? 
  • Are you involved in a farmer-led Catchment Group? 
  • Are you passionate about Southland, your community and farming? 

Find out more about the workshops in December, their location and how to apply at 

Pop-up Covid-19 Vaccine Clinics in Southland

The Southern DHB has created a page on the Southern Health website with all the stops: Pop-up COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics | Southern Health | He hauora, he kuru pounamu 

They have also created a FB event which you can check out here: (20+) Southland Farmgate COVID-19 Vaccine Tour | Facebook 

Check out the dates near you - and get vaccinated!

Catchment Group Events

Past events

YOLO Farmer visits Dipton and Riverton

PHOTO ABOVE: Wayne Langford YOLO Farmer

What a great time to be farming was the theme of Wayne and Tyler Langford's amazing presentation to the Greater Dipton Catchment Group and wider Dipton community on 30 September. Wayne Langford aka the YOLO Farmer, and his wife Tyler, shared their experiences with opening up their farm to their community and getting their community involved with how they run their farm. They also spoke about wellbeing and how YOLO came to be, and the setting up of their Meat the Need Charity, which supplied 410,000 meals for New Zealanders in its first year. It was a great night with a fantastic turnout. People loved hearing Jake Stewart talk about what the local Catchment Group had done and Wayne's and Tyler's messages about working with the community and including them in what you are doing on your farm.

Key take home messages were: Trust your community and let them in, as unless you give trust, you can't receive trust back. Approach challenges positively. Donating even one animal to a charity like Meat the Need, can make a real difference. Huge thanks to Wayne and Tyler for making time on their travels to give this talk, Richard Kyte for talking about what Catchment Groups have been working on across Southland, and to Jake Stewart, Lynden Prebble, Poppy Hardie and Frazer Brown for everything they did to make the evening happen. Check out this story on Wayne and Tyler’s visit to Riverton hosted by the Lower Aparima Catchment Group the following day - read more here

PHOTO ABOVE: Wayne speaking in Riverton

Balfour Catchment Group comes together

Balfour Catchment Group came together in October to further discuss a project idea that is brewing and hear from Clint Rissmann from Land and Water Science to understand their Catchment in more detail.

Mokoreta hosts first community meeting

Mokoreta Catchment Group had their first community meeting on 12 October after establishing their Group. With 25 people attending, there was some great conversations had. Goals were set and future topics and plans made. They are now looking forward to their first event, understanding the water quality in the Mokoreta River in closer detail. Great start Mokoreta.

Spring Catchment Group Forum well attended

A fantastic turn out from Catchment Group Leaders for the Spring Catchment Group Forum. It was a great opportunity to celebrate progress over the past 12 months, network and share ideas, and hear from MPI on funding and what other Catchment Groups are doing around the country. It was amazing to look back at what has been achieved, and we can't wait to see what Southland's Catchment Groups do in the next year!

Waiau Catchment Group gets to grips with water quality

The newly forming lower Waiau Catchment Group were joined by Justin Kitto, Water Quality Specialist from DairyNZ at the Waiau Town and Country Club in October. He provided a fantastic breakdown of what water quality is, and what the available data says about the water quality in the Waiau area (spoiler alert: it was pretty good!).

Upcoming events

Mid Oreti Catchment Group Marshalls Creek Enhancement Project Rubbish Clean-up
4 November, 3.30pm to 6pm
Prize-giving to follow for the best finds! Prizes kindly donated by Winton New World. Everyone welcome. Bring a friend. Rainy day date  11 November - check the Mid Oreti Catchment Group Facebook page for postponement announcement.  

Upper Mataura Catchment Group BBQ and field day
9 November, 4pm to 6pm
Parawa Stream + Woolshed 
Join the newly formed Upper Mataura Catchment Group for a BBQ and field day to look at stream health. What does a healthy stream look like and how can we see if our own streams are looking good or need improvement? 

Thriving Southland AGM
10 November, from 1pm
Level 6, Kelvin Hotel Invercargill 
Come along to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Thriving Southland Association Incorporated to find out what we’ve been up to and what’s coming up. All welcome. To manage Covid requirements, and for catering numbers, we need people to RSVP (noting any dietary requirements) by Thursday 4 November.   

Surfing for Farmers
Nov-Dec 2021 and Jan - Mar 2022
Riverton Rocks, Colac Bay or Monkey Island 
Thriving Southland is once again proud to support Surfing for Farmers as a local sponsor. Surfing for Farmers is all about getting farmers off farm and having a bit of fun, while trying something new. The Surfing for Farmers 2021/22 season will be kicking off on Thursday 25 November at 6pm at Riverton Rocks, Colac Bay or Monkey Island (location dependent on weather), running every Thursday until 16 December. After a short break for the festive season it will restart again on Thursday 13 January and run through until mid-March.

For up to date information on sessions, locations etc check out the Surfing for Farmers Facebook page ( or contact Tom Slee: 021 2257 067 or Katrina Thomas: 027 485 4395. All lessons are free and include a board and wetsuit, with a BBQ after!


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