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Mid Oreti Catchment Group

The area covers from Ryal Bush in the south up to Taringatura in the north. To the east the area extends out along state highway 96 to just past Springhills and then to the West a few kilometres east of Drummond. The central area of the Mid Oreti Catchment Group is the Winton Township, and the main surface waters found in this area are the Oreti River and the Winton Stream. 


Fiona Smith, Rosie Forbes, Ainsley Adams


Group coordinator

Sarah Thorne

Number of members in the CG

The Mid Oreti Catchment Group is a diverse group of people from around rural Central Southland and Winton.  It has a strong core group of 8-10 people, with field days attended by up to 60 people and growing!

Date the Catchment Group started

October 2019

Types of people in the group

Wide variety of people in the group from different land uses and backgrounds with one thing in common - everyone has a passion for improvement in our community’s environment with a focus on water quality in the Mid Oreti Space. From deer to beef and sheep and dairy farmers, to rural professionals and community members from the Winton township, everyone is welcome! 

Projects completed

The Mid Oreti Catchment Group organise a wide variety of events and projects to support both their farming and Winton township communities.  To showcase innovative farming ideas to help look after the environment, they have run some excellent field days.  To help their communities learn new skills and techniques, they have run practical grow your own native sessions, stream health workshops and other training session like learning how to take a water sample.  They always try and include a social and fun aspect to their events (often involving food!), to bring people together and look after them.  

In amongst all of this they created their own meeting space at the Red Shed at ABLime, which could also be a future Catchment Group nursery space.  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.  Supported Southland wide Catchment Group initiatives like the Aquavan “Discovering your catchment and coastal connections” education programme and the Thriving Southland Ladies Enviro series.  They have set up a colourful and well used Facebook page, and advertise their events in the Winton Outlook and on the Winton Community Pages too.

Here is a snapshot of our favourite events and activities:

  • Runoff Detainment Bund & Nursery Field Day – Sediment bunds have been created to slow the flow of runoff from the dairy farm hill catchment, to reduce sediment and nutrient loss to waterways when it rains.   Top tips to set up your own native plant nursery (with no experience needed!) were shared, and many questions answered.  Over 50 people joined in.
  • Winton Ecological Stream Health Field Day – Fun, interactive session with Freshwater Ecologist Robin Holmes (Cawthron Institute), to show the group lots of easy to use techniques to work out how healthy a stream is by looking at the macroinvertebrates (stream bugs) and using the one page Rapid Habitat Assessment.
  • Red shed set up and running! - Mid Oreti Catchment Group’s very own meeting space cleaned and refurbished using an old school on Fiona and Steve Smith property at ABLime.
  • Rapid Habitat Assessment training session – Quick and easy technique, scoring 10 categories on a one-page sheet, to help people work out the health of their stream without getting wet!  Anyone can use it on their farm or in their community.  Followed up with a quick chat about the good points of the stream, and what could be done to make it better.
  • Grow Your Own Native event - practical workshop (with over 30 people) covering seed collection, processing, sowing and potting, with info on right plant, right place, right purpose and some species ID.
  • Winton Stream eDNA and Water Quality Testing Demonstration Session – Practical, easy and fun session covering a variety of different ways to take water samples using plastic bottles and a sonde.
  • First Mid Oreti Catchment Group event on Marshalls Creek!  Trained locals up to use the easy one-page Rapid Habitat Assessment technique, and lots of sites were monitored.  This creek runs through the heart of Winton, and is a great place to bring people together to learn new skills, meet new people and learn how to look after our waterways.  This is the start of a long term community project for the group.
  • Spoke to the Oreti Community Board about their ideas for Marshalls Creek
  • Composting Barn Field Day - Steve Smith, ABLime’s General Manager, took 60 people through how their trial composting barn has gone in its first winter; what they learnt, what worked well, what can be improved, and what their next questions are.  A follow up event for people who had not been able to attend was run a week later, and another 17 people came along.

Projects underway

  • Enhancement of Marshalls Creek running through the heart of Winton – long term project to work with the Winton community to look after and enhance Marshalls Creek, and raise awareness and educate the wider community on different aspects of stream restoration and techniques you can use
  • Development of a Mid Oreti Catchment Group native nursery space and community native planting scheme
  • Supporting the third and final event of the 2021 Thriving Southland Ladies Enviro Nights Series
  • Representation on the Winton Wastewater Treatment Plant Working Group, looking at the upcoming resource consent renewal for the treatment plant

Projects planned

  • Community rubbish clean up of Marshalls Creek on the 4th November, 3.30 p.m. to 6 pm.
  • Analysis of their local eDNA (environmental DNA) data
  • Evening series to support local farmers develop and use their Farm Environment Plans
  • Develop a project to see what support is needed to support our international farm workers communication needs to improve understanding and uptake of Good Management Practice (with a focus on wintering)
  • End of year BBQ and SHMAK (Stream Health Monitoring Assessment Kit) Field Day 

Hosted events / meetings

This group plans their meeting, training, events and project work for the upcoming year, and pops it onto a one page calendar. They plan three or four meetings a year at The Red Shed around the busy farming periods, and organise field days, family events or workshops/training every 6 to 8 weeks.

  • Two initial meetings were held to form a core group of interested people, brainstorming and consulting with the group on what the biggest issues in the area are to them, and projects that may like to be undertaken.
  • Native tree nursery and runoff detainment bund field day held at AB Lime – 8 October 2020
  • Ecological Stream Health Training Workshop with Cawthron Freshwater Ecologist Robin Holmes – 23 October 2020
  • Development of a Mid Oreti Catchment Group meeting space – The Red Shed – February 2021
  • Rapid Habitat Assessment (RHA) Training Session at The Red Shed – 16 February 2021
  • Growing Natives Field Day at ABLime – 14 April 2021
  • Supported the first event of the 2021 Thriving Southland Ladies Enviro Nights Series (funding bid supported by group) – 27 April 2021
  • Winton Stream eDNA and Water Quality Testing Demonstration Session -12 May 2021
  • Supported the second event of the 2021 Thriving Southland Ladies Enviro Nights Series (funding bid supported by group) – 17 May 2021
  • Rapid Habitat Assessment of Marshall Creek – Session 1 – 16 June 2021
  • Spoke to the Oreti Community Board about their ideas for Marshalls Creek – 21 June 2021
  • Supporting Central Southland Aquavan Education Programme “Discovering our Catchment and Coastal Connections” for Year 5 to 8 students in the Central Southland area – June 2021
  • Composting Barn Field Day at ABLime – 21 July 2021

Find us on Facebook

Have a look at our great Facebook Page, where we advertise all our events, and pop up fun and interesting information to support our group and what it does  - Mid Oreti Catchment Group Facebook Page

Our stories

About our events:

Thriving Southland Newsletter August 2021

Thriving Southland Newsletter July 2021

Thriving Southland Newsletter June 2021

Thriving Southland Newsletter March 2021

Thriving Southland Newsletter November 2020

Also have a read below of our Mid Oreti Catchment Group Flyer, and our one pagers on our long term Marshalls Creek project and our results so far.


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