May 2016 eNews


25 April 2016

May eNews

'The Sanctuary' Project

"He who tries to defend everything ends up defending nothing." This is military doctrine. Whether or not it could be said to be true in conservation is debatable; indeed it could be an interesting topic to debate. We, in the North Canterbury branch committee have decided, however, that while we will continue to try, as we have been, to defend all braided rivers, we will adopt one section of one river and use that as a place to make a stand; a part of advocating for the whole.

This approach has worked on the Heathcote/Ōpāwaho where our isolated work and advocacy at Calder Green Reserve has been our launch pad for wider networked efforts on behalf of the whole river (e.g. see 'The Mother of all Rubbish Clean-ups', May 7th.)

Our new braided river project called 'The Sanctuary' is on the Waimakariri and is a partnership project with the Parks and Reserves team of Environment Canterbury and in particular with Greg Stanley an ECan ranger who has been doing wonderful work in the area and is pleased to work with us.

We will be organising an official opening of this project in the early spring but if you would like a preview and to meet with Greg and others come to our working bee on Saturday May 28th 1-3pm. The meeting place is at the western end of Coutts Island Rd - see map for directions.

Public Talk and AGM: Update on Hinewai and the new reserve nearby in Grehan Valley - Hugh Wilson

7.30pm Tuesday May 10th
WEA, 59 Gloucester Street (opp. Art Gallery)

Hugh Wilson naturalist, author, illustrator and long-term manager of internationally renowned Hinewai Reserve near Akaroa is coming to what he terms "the car-infested swamp" to give the Lance McCaskill Memorial address at the AGM. Hugh is well known as a brilliant and entertaining speaker and will have a number of stunning slides to illustrate his talk. Delicious supper provided. All welcome.

Minutes of the 2015 AGM can be viewed here.

Mahoe-nui Bush Restoration Project – Lower Site Autumn Plantcare day

9.15-11.30am Saturday 30th April 2016
Big hairpin bend on Evans Pass Rd 

Please join us for our Autumn plantcare day at Mahoe-nui Bush Lower site. We will be weeding/releasing around the plants to give them the space and light to grow, and mulching to keep the weeds down and moisture in. Equipment and morning tea provided.

Please note – parts of the site are quite steep and can be slippery - wear gumboots or sturdy boots. Please contact Vanessa (, 021 0255 6918) or Peter (, 326 6831, 021 0235 4473) for further infomation or visit our webpage for Mahoe-nui Bush -

The Mother of all Rubbish Clean-ups - Heathcote /Opawaho 

10am - 12 noon  Saturday May 7th
Carpark at the Ferrymead end of the track through to Calder Green Reserve -
 click here for directions.

This year Forest and Bird will be collecting rubbish on both sides of the lower stretch of the Heathcote River from the Ferrymead Bridge to the Lyttelton Tunnel Road bridge. This will be part of a wider effort to clean up the full length of both the Heathcote River/Ōpāwaho and Avon River/Ōtākaro, and the estuary edges. 

Their will be a social gathering of all groups involved at 3:00pm the same day - details at the cleanup. Any questions contact or phone 03 9422917.

A Working Bee with a Fishy Difference

10:00am - 1:00pm  Sunday May 15th
Meet outside the West Oxford Hotel at the western end of Main St Oxford

Forest and Bird members are invited to a help transfer native Myriophyllum water plants to the new Forest and Bird mudfish project on 'Middelmost' dairy farm near Oxford. The water plants are important spawning habitat for the Nationally Critical Canterbury Mudfish. Working Waters Trust ( has created new wetland ponds for the mudfish that need collection from a nearby site, transportation and then planted into place.

Please RSVP to Sophie Allen to receive more details, or postponement for rain etc. Bring gumboots, a lunch and water bottle, warm clothes that can get a bit muddy, a spade/trowel for digging out the water plants at the collection site, and any plastic trays you have (such as a fish bin) to collect the water plants in for transportation.

Photos by Terry Thomsen

Canterbury Water News

  • There will be a commemoration and wreath laying at the stone cairn in Cathedral Square at 12:00pm Saturday 30th April to remember the loss of democracy and the right of citizens to protect their environment.
  • Fish and Game recently closed North Canterbury rivers below SH1 to the mouth for the winter fishing season due to the decline in the local fishery over the last five years. A paper presented to the Hurunui Zone Committee  by Fish and game outlining the reasons for the decision can be viewed here.
  • North Canterbury Forest and Bird's Jen Miller recently wrote an opinion piece in the Press on the lack of enforcement by ECan of water improvement rules.
  • Ashburton District Council is selling the right to extract 40 billion litres of water from the drought prone Canterbury Plains to an undisclosed company for an undisclosed sum.  
  • MacKenzie Guardians is an organisation promoting the protection of the MacKenzie Country environment. It is currently fighting to hold back further inappropriate irrigation development in the region. If you wish to financially support these efforts, please visit their donations page.

Climate Change

  • The Royal Society of New Zealand has released a report detailing how climate change will impact this country. For further information see here.
  • On 21st May at will be holding "Hands Across the Sand" at New Brighton beach. This is a worldwide event to show opposition to fossil fuels and support for clean energy. Forest and Bird worked with 350 on climate action before the Paris climate talks and hope to collaborate with them in the future.

Youth "Scholarships"

At our April meeting the committee decided to begin paying the membership of young-er people (up to 10 per year) willing to join the committee and help us, or to do some other work for the branch e.g. within a project or working group.

If you would like to receive this sponsorship, or if you know a young person who might please contact the secretary  

Branch Secretary

Nominations are sought for the position of branch secretary to look after the branch correspondence and work closely with the chairperson. You need to have experience using computers and emails, as most correspondence is electronic. We don't handle large volumes of correspondence, and it is a volunteer role that can be done any time, whenever it suits you, but it is important to clear emails regularly and respond to requests promptly. You will have experienced committee members to support you as needed. Please contact the secretary

Boyle Base Report March 2016.

The tally since October 2010 remains at 166 stoats. We have had a calm before the storm in which no stoats have been caught since Christmas 2015. Monitoring occurs in February, May, August and November. A nasty surprise has been the 7 weasels we have caught in our traps. It is not only in the Lewis Pass they have been turning up but in Canterbury in general. Little is known on weasel biology.

The New Bird Stations are great for 5 minute bird counts. Come and try them out by looking and listening for bird life. A great activity for all the family.

Mistletoe is prolific and in February had orange berries. We tried pretending we were birds establishing mistletoe on young growing beeches, by wiping berries off onto branches. Gerry McSweeney has tried this before and has had about 30% success.

The new bunkroom inside (known as the bathroom or trap room) is a great success. Thanks to John and son, James M and Steve H for their great carpentry work. It looks so neat.

Everyone is welcome at Boyle Base. Contact Lesley Shand 379 0316 for a booking.

Lesley Shand

KCC Outing

Last Sunday we had a great outing to Rangiora to check out what lives in the stream very close to a new housing development. Only one person from the large group had ever seen a Koura. All got to see several up very close - amazing - also small eels, a frog as well as more usual things to see. Many thanks for a wonderful outing on a sun shiney day to Greg Bennett and the Yellow Digger expertly manoeuvred by Kenny. Weed was carefully extracted to clear the clogged waterway.

Ratepayer voter?

Are you one of the many Forest and Bird members who own a property, often held for conservation or recreation purposes, in an electorate away from your home address? Are you aware that as a ratepayer in that electorate you are entitled to vote as a ratepayer elector in local body elections?

Please contact the appropriate local council office for an enrolment form, enrol to vote and then get your vote in later this year. If enough of us do this it could make a lot of difference to the type of leadership and concern for environmental issues that we might see in some areas.

Get in touch!

If you have any questions, suggestions or just want to say hello then please drop us a line.

Chair - Colleen Phillip (Ph: 981 8556)
Secretary - Hendrikje Buss
Treasurer & public talks -Ainslie Talbot
KCC - Eleanor Bissell
Mahoe-nui BushVanessa Horwell
Website, eNews - Michael Godfrey
Boyle Base - Lesley Shand (Ph: 379 0316)
Calder Green Reserve - Mick Ingram (Ph: 03 384 8080 / 021 816633)

Membership - for changes to membership or donations.  (Ph: 0800 200 064)

Committee members - 
Valerie Campbell
Greg Byrnes 
Steve Attwood

Rachel Hurford
Penny Wright
Helen Hills

© Vanessa Green

Diary Dates

30 April 9:15am
Mahoe-nui Lower Site Autumn Plantcare Day

30 April 12:00pm
Commemoration and wreath laying at cairn in Cathedral Square.

7 May 10:00am
The Mother of All Rubbish Cleanups
(Calder Green Reserve)

10 May 7:30pm
AGM with Hugh Wilson

14 May 1pm and 4:30pm
Calder Green Reserve bird surveys

15 May 10:00am - 1:00pm
Mudfish habitat working bee

21 May 11:30am
Hands Across the Sand at New Brighton Beach

To see a summary of upcoming events, please visit our website.