February 2022 Thriving Southland Newsletter

Happy New Year!

Welcome to our first Thriving Southland newsletter for 2022.

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.
There’s obviously going to be a few challenges going by the latest COVID-19 developments, but it’s important to remind ourselves to stay connected and to look out for each other.

This year we look forward to seeing some of the original Thriving Southland projects hitting their stride, and it'll be great to see the outcomes - great work by Catchment Groups for their hard work getting their projects to this point. The Catchment Co-ordinators are back into their work; planning events and assisting Catchment Groups with project plans - with lots in the pipeline.
Several Catchment Groups will be holding their first meetings for the year in February and March, and we’ll be sure to keep you informed of all catchment-related happenings around the region. Check out the upcoming events section below.

Catchment Group Profile South Coast Catchment Group

How many members in the Group? 
About 40 people. 

When did the Group start? 
The South Coast Catchment Group formed in 2021, previously we casually joined into the Waikawa Catchment Group events. The South Coast Group encompasses Tokanui in the north, down to Waipapa Point, Otara, Haldane and around the coast to Slope Point (the southern-most point of the South Island!).

What projects and events have been happening?
We hit the ground running with an online ‘Facebook messenger group’ of members. The Group has now held a number of events including:
  • A grow-your-own-natives event at Fortrose which had over 40 people attend.
  • An introduction to Catchment Groups and stream health with Craig Simpson. 
  • A wintering event discussing GMPS supported by Environment Southland and DairyNZ. 
  • A Farm planning day with Beef + Lamb NZ.

Best way to get in touch?
Group Chair Justine Parker - 027 581 9526

Paying it forward for the benefit of the Southland environment  

Limehill’s family decision to pay it forward is benefitting two Southland Catchment Groups.

The Legg family picked up third place in the Southland Catchment Groups Christmas Competition in December, and as they live in the Makarewa Headwaters Catchment Group area, they decided to donate their prize to their local Catchment Group.

“It was a really cool initiative that Thriving Southland came up with. It put a smile on everyone’s faces,” Rachelle Legg said.

Rachelle said the kids helped their dad, Guy who is a builder, put together the ‘Field of Dreams’ entry using pallets and bales at the family’s Limehills lifestyle block.

They were delighted to donate their prize to their local Group, which was great at coming up with cool ideas and projects, she said.

The Makarewa Headwaters Catchment Group are in turn using the prize to buy plants from the Mid Oreti Catchment Group, as they wanted plants to be eco-sourced from the local area.

The plants will be part of a community roadside riverbank planting project being organised by Makarewa Headwaters locals, Margie and Paul Ruddenklau.

The plants are part of the Mid Oreti Catchment Group’s mini forest movement which is underway in 2022.

They were donated by AB Lime, along with some staff time to help kickstart the project. Donations gained from plants given out go back into the Mid Oreti Catchment Group for future events and projects.

The plants are all seed raised and eco-sourced from Winton Hill, and will be a mix of establishing native species perfect for the planting site.

Thanks again to all those who entered the Southland Catchment Group Christmas competition for making our rural community a happier place this Christmas.

Catchment Group Events

Past events

AgMardt Southland visit

PHOTO ABOVE: Dr Clint Rissmann (Director Land and Water Science), Andrew Boyce (General Manager Land and Water Science), Dr Lisa Pearson (Land and Water Science), Lee-Ann Marsh (General Manager Agmardt), Nick Pyke (Chair Agmardt), Richard Green (Trustee Agmardt), Jeff Grant (Chair Thriving Southland), Richard Kyte (Thriving Southland).

The AgMardt team visited Southland in early January to understand the Catchment Group model. Thriving Southland was successful in securing significant funding from AgMardt at the end of 2021 in a larger than usual funding contribution. We thoroughly enjoyed their visit and the opportunity to show off some of the great work by Catchment Groups. 

The Beyond Regulation Matāura catchment project won the AGMARDT Aotearoa New Zealand Food & Fibres Challenge for breaking new ground in the drive towards a zero-carbon economy. The project looks at the development of a high-resolution landscape knowledge platform to guide catchment and land user investment in mitigation pathways for soil GHG and water quality emissions that are spatially targeted, efficient and cost-effective, in a format that can be easily utilised by land users. It involves farmers working directly with scientists to deliver a valuable tool that will benefit rural communities across New Zealand. 

Lower Mataura Catchment Group evening tour

The Lower Mataura Catchment Group had a nice evening out touring their catchment in late November. We stopped at four small streams which feed the Fortrose Estuary and learned from the group about historical flooding events and changes that have occurred to waterways. We finished up with a social event at Fortrose Cafe, enjoying good company, views and food. The evening was supported by Environment Southland’s Nathan Hughes and Craig Smith sharing their stream health knowledge.

Between The Domes Catchment Group Planting Day and Christmas BBQ

A great time was had planting out a section of Lumsden Creek at the Between the Domes Catchment Group and Reforest Northern Southland Trust Christmas BBQ and native planting afternoon in Lumsden in early December. The Catchment Group is celebrating a busy year - and has some exciting projects on the go for 2022.  A brief downpour didn’t deter the BBQ with meat kindly sponsored by Alliance.

Greater Dipton Catchment Group rubbish round up and community lunch

The Greater Dipton Catchment Group team did Dipton proud in December with their end of year rubbish pick up and community lunch.  Brilliant community spirit and pride.  The free ice creams, coffees and Dipton Roadhouse lunch went down a treat.

Thriving Southland Stakeholder Breakfast and project update

A large number of stakeholders turned out for Thriving Southland's Breakfast Update at Ascot Park Hotel in Invercargill. As well as an opportunity to catch up and network, the breakfast provided an opportunity to update stakeholders on what Thriving Southland and Southland Catchment Groups have been up to, including some of the fantastic projects underway. A facilitated panel discussion also gave three Catchment Group Leaders the opportunity to highlight how stakeholders’ skills and knowledge are really beneficial to Groups, whilst encouraging everyone in the room to get involved in their local Catchment Group.

Make it count! Efficient nutrient use event

What a great day out at the Hopcroft’s place for the ‘Make it count! efficient nutrient use’ event on 8 December. There were good discussions all round and a positive start to the Good Farming Practice Workstream. We discussed how to get the most from your fertiliser spend; sheep and dairy case studies; the effect, timing and rate of fertilisers on pasture growth and nutrient losses; soil testing the do’s and don’ts, and the nice to haves. 

Special thanks to Wayne and Heather for hosting us, Nathan from DairyNZ for facilitating, Jim Risk from Ballance Agri-Nutrients and Deane Carsen for sharing their expertise. The event was part of the ACE community project, and its Good Farming Practice Workstream. We’ll keep the website and Facebook updated on what’s coming up next.

Waimatuku Catchment Group Christmas Do at Thornbury

What a fascinating night at the Thornbury Rural Heritage Centre on 8 December with lots of tractors for the kids to play on! The Waimatuku Catchment Group Christmas get-together was a great success with about 30 people coming along.

We learned heaps about the pioneering farming history of the Waimatuku area and finished the night off with an amazing BBQ tea - thanks to Thornbury School. The centre is open every Sunday 1.30pm-4.30pm and is a great way to spend a weekend or holiday afternoon.

Waihopai Catchment Group Christmas BBQ and end of year celebration

Great Christmas BBQ and end of year celebration at Eoin McKenzie’s Farm for the Waihopai Catchment Group. Fantastic turnout and a chance to relax and chat after calving and mating. Many thanks to Wilson Contracting for supporting our event with some food from Woodlands Farm Butchers and some beers.  A great end to the year.

Makarewa Headwaters Catchment Group end of year celebration

Fabulous turn out to celebrate the end of the year for the Makarewa Headwaters Catchment Group. Happy kids and happy families. Big thanks to the Frew crew for hosting, and for all the great suggestions on what we can tackle next year!

Stunning scenery on show at Ardlussa Catchment Group field day

The Ardlussa Catchment Group hosted a great field day and BBQ on 11 December. The more than 40 people who attended toured two farms looking at different environmental improvements and opportunities and finished up on a third property for a community wellbeing BBQ. It was a great way to end the year with both adults and kids getting involved.

Upcoming events

ACE Stream Walk 2022 Series - Pourakino Catchment Group  

2 February, 10.30am to 1.30pm
Ermedale Road, Bridge car park (Just by the Pourakino River)
Tea, coffee and lunch provided.Questions and RSVP’s to: or Rachael 021 566 229
*A Vaccine Pass will be required to attend this event
Building on last year’s success, come along and engage with your local community, see the life in your waterways and identify opportunities for improvement. Learn more about identifying contaminant pathways, the SHMAK kit, complete a Rapid Habitat Assessment, check out some macroinvertebrate monitoring, and we will complete eDNA and Ecoli testing for each site. Weather dependent, the day may include some electrofishing thanks to Fish and Game team. 

Mid Oreti Catchment Group seed collecting and sowing evening
10 February, 6 to 7pm

AB Lime – 10 Bend Road. Join the Mid Oreti Catchment Group for an evening of seed collection and sowing to begin to grow your own natives and for the Mid Oreti Mini Forest Movement!

Everyone is welcome, so please bring a friend or the kids! Learn how to grow natives from seed.

Effective Meetings and Engagement Workshops
16 February
Free to attend. Registration essential to 
*A Vaccine pass will be required to attend this event.
Led by Steve McDowell and Vern Walsh from Meeting & Governance Solutions, these workshops will develop capability in meeting management, minute taking, effective governance, strategic planning, organisational development, community consultation and engagement. Check out the Thriving Southland website for more details.
Surfing for Farmers
January - March 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!

Otamita Catchment Group meeting
22 February, 6pm to 8.30pmThe first of four Otamita Catchment meetings planned for this season. Kate Dunlevey from Compass Agri will be leading discussion on environmental direction and how it could affect the Otamita catchment. BBQ Dinner and a chance to catch up with the neighbours.
For more information contact:
Barry Roughan - 0276884811
Coral McLoed - 0276691040
Cameron Grant - 0272203605

ACE Catchment Groups - benefits of an effective wetland or sediment trap  
25 February, 11am to 1.30pm
Russell Drummond’s, 180 Tiromaunga Road, Castle Down
Tea, coffee and lunch provided.   
RSVP to or Rachael on 021 566 229.   
*A Vaccine Pass will be required to attend this event.  
Discuss the benefits of an effective wetland or sediment trap. What is the nutrient loss mitigation possible from a well-designed system? What does a well-designed system look like, and what is the difference in design for solving phosphorus / sediment vs nitrogen issues?
Hear from farmers who have installed wetlands/sediment traps and their advice to others interested in developing their own system. Discussions by experts will cover soil mapping, water and contaminant pathways, Pomahaka Water Care Group and the catchment history, land use and catchment load.

Greater Dipton Catchment Group - Grow Your Own Natives Workshop
24th February 10am-2pm
Starting at 50 McLeod Road North, Caroline 9791.  4WDs not essential but preferable.  Registrations will be limited.  More info to follow on the Dipton Community Facebook page nearer the time.

Bushwalk and seed collection in the Caroline Valley.  Then head up to Lumsden for a “buy your own lunch” lunch, followed by an introduction to growing your own natives at the Lumsden Community Nursery.

Have a great February,

Ngā mihi

Richard Kyte (Thriving Southland Project Lead) and the Thriving Southland Team


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