About Us

The South Otago branch undertakes important conservation activities to enhance the beautiful and unique environment in the southeastern part of the South Island

Cathedral Caves, The Catlins

Cathedral Caves, The Catlins

The branch was founded in 1978 and covers an area that includes Balclutha, the Catlins, Milton, Owaka and Clinton.

Threatened species found in the region include the yellow-eyed penguin, the New Zealand sea lion and the mohua (yellow-head).

The Catlins is a particularly scenic site, with spectacular coastal landscapes and waterfalls. It has a high proportion of remnant native bush.

Important activities carried out by the branch include:
  • Protection of the endangered yellow-eyed penguin via nest-monitoring and pest control
  • Weed control and replanting at Owaka Heads and Papatowai
  • Native plant sales
  • Submissions to the regional council
  • Special events such as photography competitions
  • Public discussions of environmental issues
  • Monthly open meetings with guest speakers
  • Educational field trips, which take place two to three times a year
  • Management of the Lenz Reserve and the Tautuku Forest Cabins in association with the Southland and Dunedin branches


A life dedicated to nature

Roy and a child inspecting a koura

Roy and a child inspecting a koura

The branch president Roy Johnstone was a finalist for the DOC's 2011 conservation awards.

Roy is actively involved in hands-on projects throughout the region. He hikes up and down the local reserves, searching and monitoring nests of the endangered yellow-eyed penguin. He has planned and set up a network of pest traps, and constantly monitors predators.

Roy takes part in weedbusting and replanting activities at Owaka Heads, Penguin Bay, Otanomomo Reserve and Long Point. He even conducts bat monitoring in Lake Wakatipu Catchment.



Branch contact information

Jane Young

Email: janejimyoung@slingshot.co.nz