August 2022 Thriving Southland Newsletter

Welcome to our August newsletter!

We’ve notice that there is quite a bit of talk about resilience in the farming sector at the moment, as various changes appear on the horizon.

One of the best things about Catchment Groups is their ability to connect their community and allow members to bounce ideas off each other in a positive environment where potential changes are embraced as opportunities.

And it’s great to see new Catchment Groups being created all the time in Southland.

Congratulations to Southland’s three new Catchment Groups in Otama, Knapdale and Wendon. There are now about 35 Groups across Southland - covering about 90% of the region. That’s a fantastic outcome for Southland!

These new Groups often grow out of other Catchment Groups, in order to focus more locally on their own locality. It's people working with people they know, looking at the challenges and opportunities that are relevant to them and their communities.

A lot of local halls and community centres are getting more use with so many Catchment Group events happening - and it seems this closeness to communities is a big driver in their success. There’s always a savoury and a bit of cake, and of course a cold one or a cuppa to look forward to as well!

Thriving Southland’s Catchment Coordinators are there to facilitate all this activity - to help take the pressure off Catchment Group leaders.

After all, by helping each other out, we’re helping to support and grow strong communities.

Introducing - our new Catchment Coordinator - Clare Officer

I’m originally from the UK where I grew up on our family dairy farm which ignited my passion for agriculture (especially dairying) and all things rural. We moved to New Zealand over 16 years ago and now dairy farm at Centre Bush. As well as being a hands-on dairy farmer, I’m mum to four school-aged children.

After working on farm for the past 20 years I am excited to have joined the Thriving Southland team and look forward being able to work with farmers and Catchment Groups that are as passionate about farming as I am.

Makarewa Headwaters Catchment study zeroes in on contaminant losses

Zeroing in on contaminant hotspots is proving invaluable for one Southland Catchment Group to help better understand and manage farming practices and improve water quality.

About 40 people attended a field-day at the Otapiri & Lora Gorge Memorial Hall on July 26 to learn about the results of the Makarewa Headwaters Catchment Group LUCI-Ag Project identifying nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and sediment loss hotspots across the catchment.

The Group engaged Ravensdown Environmental to model N and P and soil losses from the catchment to look at possible ways to reduce contaminant losses and better understand the dynamics around these losses.

LUCI-Ag is based on geographic software that uses readily available national data, supplemented by on-farm management data and knowledge. It uses this to develop spatially detailed maps and analyses specific to the property so farmers can see nutrient hotspots on their farm maps.

Makarewa Headwaters Catchment Group Chair Alexis Wadworth said six farms were used in the modelling - five sheep and one dairy - with the results extrapolated across the rest of the catchment using all available land information databases.

“It’s been a long journey to get here, and we are really pleased with the work that’s been done. We’re really grateful to Thriving Southland, as this could not have happened without their funding and support,” she said.

Presentations from Ravensdown staff were complemented with thought provoking panel and Q&A sessions.

A key focus is building increased understanding around how much activity different types of soils are capable of supporting, while discussions reiterated the importance of looking at the overall ecological health in a catchment.

Presentations centred around practical on-farm mitigations using LUCI-Ag modelling, including fencing of waterways, forestry, aligning farming intensity and timing to land use,  and taking a catchment-based approach.

The potential impacts of land retirement of steeper areas and intensification of low slope scrub land was also discussed.

Otapiri Gorge farmers Dan and Brett Frew talked about the on-farm changes they have made to keep their soil in one place since severe damage caused during 2018 thunderstorms.

Massive thank you to all the speakers and panel members, Ravensdown for putting the report together, and Alliance Group New Zealand and VetSouth for the delicious BBQ lunch.

For the full report click here.

Catchment Group Profile - Mimihau Catchment Group

When did the Group start?

The group started in 2020 as a sub-catchment group to the Three Rivers Group and have about 25 members. They still work together with Three Rivers on projects which effect everyone.  

Who are the members of the Group?

The Mimihau catchment is a mix of sheep, beef and dairy. It is well known for its fishing and recreation.

What projects and events have been happening?

We have completed an in-depth assessment of MCI across the catchment forming a bench mark to monitor future stream health, and have hosted events and meetings covering the ETS, silt ponds and water schemes. Future event topics include willow control and e-coli testing. We’re also looking at available technology for the farm business.

Who is the best contact if I’m interested?

Group Chair - Hayden Clearwater - 027 414 4920


Lower Aparima Catchment Group Wintering Tour

The Lower Aparima Catchment Group visited four different farm systems in the Fairfax area on 22 June to look at their wintering systems and check out a well-established sediment trap. There was lots of great discussion and questions about each of the different systems from the 50-60 people that attended. Thanks to all the host farmers for your support and talking us through your wintering practices.

Farm Planning Workshops

ACE ran three successful farm planning workshops in June, with more than 40 farmers attending to create new farm plans and update their existing plans. Thanks to B+LNZ and ACE for making this happen.

Reducing Waste - What can you do on your farm, in your household, and in your community?

Four FAB recycling and waste reduction events with Trish Rankin were held in late June. Lots of ideas and local recycling options were shared by Shari and Jaymee from Plasbacknz, Rob and Keith from Environment Southland and Trish.

The talks were interactive and fun – looking at really easy and simple ideas to kickstart improving recycling or waste reduction in our house or on our farm. And now the actions begin! This was just the start, so if you weren't one of the 75 people who made it to the talks, just email Sheree at Thriving Southland (office@ and she will share the event handouts.

Please keep sharing your recycling and waste reduction tips with us, and we’ll post useful recycling and waste reduction tips on Facebook.

Between The Domes Winter event

About 70 people attended the Mid Oreti Catchment Group's ‘year two composting wintering barn trial field day’ in July.

This season has seen lots of challenges and learnings following May’s heavy rain and snow resulting in wet compost.

Lots questions were asked and answered, and huge thanks to the AB Lime crew for opening up their farm and sharing their learnings, Westpac for sponsoring and running the BBQ with hot sausages and burgers (yum!), and Nana Rails Drive By Espresso for keeping people warm with coffees and hot chocolates.  Contact Steve at ABLime if you couldn't make it and have any questions, and come along next year and see how year three is going!

Invercargill Sunrise Rotary Water Connections Day

Thriving Southland had a fab time at the Invercargill Sunrise Rotary Water Connections Day at the ILT Stadium Southland in July.

Sunrise Rotary pulled together a wide range of organisations and groups to showcase what is happening around Southland to look after and improve our water quality and waterways, including Sunrise Rotary, Environment Southland, Invercargill City Council, Fulton Hogan Southland, Micro Investigators, New River Estuary Forum and, of course, Thriving Southland.  The stuffed pest animals from our ‘Solving the Pest Puzzle Education Kit’ stole the show and drew lots of people to our stand!

The University of Otago Marine Studies Centre Aquavan Team and their marine critters were also there, and we got to try some very tasty food at the Multicultural Food Festival.

Oreti Catchment Group Leaders get together

July saw another great catch up with the Oreti Catchment Group Leaders.  This is our third year getting together, and is all about sharing knowledge and ideas, forming strong connections across the Oreti, coming up with project and event ideas (for groups, catchment wide and across catchments), and inspiring each other.

It is also a chance to thank our Oreti Catchment Group Leaders for all the amazing work they do supporting and running their Catchment Groups. Great people. Great chats. Great ideas. Thanks Winton Top Pub for the lovely food and great venue!

Forming a community catchment group - Otama Catchment Group

The Otama Catchment Group is off to a great start building connections with community, with a delicious potluck dinner and an introduction to understanding Catchment Groups.

Kevin Hall from the wider Three Rivers Catchment Group popped along (thanks Kevin!) to talk about how their Catchment Group formed, their learnings and wins from past projects, and his projections about what might be next.

The Group also discussed the Otama catchment’s greatest challenges, opportunities and some of the projects they would like to get underway.

Otamita Catchment Group hears about Freshwater Crayfish Farming

The Otamita Catchment Group welcomed John Hollows from Ernslaw One to share his knowledge on the freshwater crayfish (commonly known as kōura). John is the Aquaculture Manager and looks after their Keewai project, which successfully and sustainably farms freshwater crayfish in some of their South Island forests. John shared his knowledge with the group on how to get ponds established on farm and discussed future markets for this unique product.


Waikaka Stream Catchment Group planning meeting
Waikaka Sports Complex
10 August, 7.30pm

The Waikaka Stream Catchment Group is having a planning evening to work out future events, possibly more for autumn next year. We welcome everyone to come along and participate to put forward your ideas that may be of interest to members of the community. We also welcome any new people who would like to help in the organisation of events.

For more information contact: Craig McIntyre 0274761876

Sandra Campbell (Thriving Southland) 021400431

Have a great August,

Ngā mihi
Richard Kyte (Thriving Southland Project


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