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Lower Oreti Catchment Group

The Lower Oreti Catchment Group covers the lower reaches of the Oreti River catchment, from Spar Bush in the north down to Ferry Road in the South, and borders the Waimatuku catchment in the West and the Hedgehope-Makarewa catchment in the East.   

Topography: flat to gently undulating alluvial terraces in the lower reaches of the Oreti River and Makarewa River catchments.
Main surface water catchments: Lower Oreti River and Makarewa River, with Waianiwa Stream, Waikiwi Stream  and the Tomoporakau Creek.

Group coordinator

Sarah Thorne
027 588 5200

Days of work: Monday - Thursday (lunchtime)


Who we are 

The Lower Oreti Catchment Group has been formed with the goal to help farmers and our local community: 

  • Better understand the challenges we face around balancing farm production with sustainable land use, and improvement of water quality and biodiversity 
  • Identify opportunities and drive farmer-led, grassroots action in our local area 
  • Respond to changing environmental policies and shifting consumer behaviours. 

Numbers of members in the CG 

Six keen locals have been attending events run by New Zealand Landcare Trust, Thriving Southland and other Southland Catchment Groups since 2019, and decided in March 2021 to start their group with a Wintering Field Day in June which 50 people came along to! 

Date the Catchment Group started

Official start date was the 29th June 2021 with the first Lower Oreti Catchment Group event.

Types of people in the group 

The dream is to have a diverse group of people from different backgrounds and land uses, with a passion for improving the environment and the health of the waterways found in the Lower Oreti area. 

Everyone is welcome. 

Projects completed

Our first event was a Wintering Field Day in June, where over 50 people visited two farms with different wintering systems.  The first farm had a focus on a block feeding kale system, buffer zones and a sediment trap, and the second was a generational wintering barn system.  We talked about how to manage environmental risks around wintering, and learnt some top tips for fencing and portable watering troughs.

Environment Southland Land Sustainability staff got people thinking about good management practices for wintering, and the benefits of sediment traps, and Ewen Mathieson from the Pourakino Catchment Group, talked about his experience with Catchment Groups and how they can benefit our farms, businesses and the local community.  This was followed by an excellent BBQ and a few yarns.

In June the group also took part in a nationwide eDNA (environmental DNA) water quality monitoring programme (along with the other Southland Catchment Groups), to provide valuable information on the plants and animals found in and around New Zealand’s waterways.  Their sample was taken from the Waianiwa Stream.  

Future projects and events

We plan to run events to bring people together to share knowledge and skills, access expert advice and information. Our aim is to work on projects that are useful to our catchment and the local community. 

  • Know your catchment – issues and actions 
  • Wetlands and sediment traps workshop 
  • Understand stream health and water quality 
  • Farm Environmental Plan assistance 
  • Riparian planting assistance 
  • Wintering system trials 
  • Pest management and trapping programme 

Hosted events / meetings

  • Wintering Field day – 29 June 2021

Representatives from Steering Group members also regularly attend twice yearly Southland Catchment Group Forum meetings and the annual Oreti Catchment Group Leaders Get Together. They are also very supportive of attending wider Southland Catchment Group events and initiatives. 

Contact us

Email us at

Message us on our Facebook Page

Or contact the Lower Oreti Catchment Group Coordinator Sarah Thorne on 027 5885 200 or email 

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