Hedgehope Makarewa Catchment Group


Jeanette Topham


027 230 4511


Group coordinator

Sarah Thorne

Recently expanded from the Hedghope Dunsdale to the Hedgehope Makarewa. 

It covers 60,000ha from just south of Mataura in the north down to Rakahouka on State Highway 98 in the south. Between Rakahouka and Edendale its boundary runs north of State Highway 98, almost across to State Highway 1 between Edendale and Mataura. To the west the area extends across to Ryal Bush and down to Wallacetown where the Oreti River forms the western boundary. 
Currently the core area of the Hedgehope Makarewa Catchment Group is the Hedgehope area with people involved from the Ryal Bush and Makakrewa area.

The main surface waters found in this area are the Oreti River, the Makarewa River, and the Dunsdale and Hedgehope  and Waikiwi Streams.

Number of members in the CG

The group has 12 core members that form a Steering Group, and another 40 active members and then a wider base of community members that are kept updated with what the group is up to. 

Up to 100 locals have attended events.  Members include farmers, rural professionals, industrial, schools and community.  All have a passion for strong thriving communities and looking after catchment and community is at the heart of everything they do. 

Date the Catchment Group started

2014 – It was the fourth Catchment Group to start in Southland.

Types of people in the group

Dairy, sheep and beef, deer, crops, industry, community and schools.  All are welcome!

Projects completed

The original Hedgehope Dunsdale Catchment Group was all about: sharing and informing; educating and raising awareness; supporting and creating solutions, and accessing information and experts.  They wanted to understand and learn about the water quality in the Dunsdale and Hedgehope Rivers, and ensure their community was fully informed of any regulations from the Council and Government, and its implications on their area and community.  They also wanted to understand Iwi values in their area, especially with regard to water quality.


  • Advocated for our community and brought farm sectors and community together
  • Formed a strong relationship with Environment Southland staff and Councillors, to have a say in the regulatory changes
  • Worked with Environment Southland to get a permanent water quality monitoring station at the confluence of the Hedgehope and Makarewa Rivers
  • Worked alongside other Catchment Groups to understand implications of issues such as forestry and share knowledge 
  • Speakers on current issues, such as Clint Rissmann (physiographics), Deane Carson (water testing and E. Coli)
  • Various workshops on the Land & Water 2020, Farm Environment Plans, on water sampling, Rapid Habitat Assessment, critical source areas (identifying environment risks), and how to submit to Government on policies and regulations
  • Raised the profile of Catchment Groups, and supported newly emerging Catchment Groups 
  • Created mutual respect and understanding between Catchment Groups and local, regional and national regulatory bodies
  • Increased personal knowledge, understanding and skills to represent our community and farming sectors

Projects underway

  1. Organising a hangi with their local schools and Waihopai Runanga
  2. Working with the Southern Dairy Hub to extend farm trials on the impacts and winter cropping and grazing to improve our understanding on how the new legislation could work in Southland
  3. Working with Clint Rissmann to understand our catchment and what we could do next to help look after it
  4.  Exploring communication and engagement ideas

Projects planned

  1. Spreading Good Management Practice through local field days
  2. Going to other Catchment Group events to learn from them
  3. Looking at how we can help our community develop Farm and Property Environmental Management Plans, starting with a B+LNZ workshop
  4. Always keen to hear about farmer and community wellbeing project and other project ideas!

Hosted events / meetings

Lots over the years


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